Community funeral service today for fallen Okaloosa County Deputy Michael Neau

Daily News/USA TODAY NETWORK

FORT WALTON BEACH — Funeral services will be held today for Okaloosa County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Neau, 36, who passed away Sept 5.

Michael Neau

Neau, a Niceville native, served in the U.S. Air Force and spent time stationed in Korea. He ultimately earned his associate's degree while going through the Law Enforcement Academy at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville and joined the OCSO in December 2011, according to the agency. 

"He never met a stranger or an enemy," Neau's loved ones said. "Michael has a fantastic way of lightening any situation, making people laugh regardless of the circumstance. He is always there to wrap anyone in a big bear hug; nothing can ruffle his feathers. He exudes sincerity to every person he encounters with his larger-than-life presence, genuine smile, and infectious laughter."

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In a statement after Neau's passing, the Sheriff's Office wrote, "We are praying for his wife, their young children, and extended family and friends. We ask you to keep them in your thoughts.

"Together, our OCSO family will lift and support them, not only through these dark times. but in the future as well.

"We will honor Micheal’s service and sacrifice. We will continue to love and support his family and we should all pull our loved ones in a little closer during this tragic reminder of how short and cruel life can be. We need one another."

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Michael is survived by his wife, Mechelle Neau; his children; Damien Neau (14), Ryan Neau (12), Lilia Neau (10), Easton Neau (8), Layla Neau (7), and Adalynn Neau (4); his parents, Michael and Deborah Neau; his sister Rochelle Neau; and brothers Christopher Neau, Matthew Neau, and Joseph Neau. 

A funeral service will be held today at 4 p.m.at Beachside Community Church, 200 Racetrack Road N.W., Fort Walton Beach. Visitation will begin an hour prior. The service is open to the public, anyone is welcome to show their respects for the family and honor Michael. A reception will be held at the church after the services. 

Graveside services will take place 10 a.m. Tuesday at Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola. The graveside service will only be open to immediate family and first responders.