The founder of one of Ottawa's most successful funeral homes was remembered at his funeral on Tuesday for his integrity and ability to help people through their darkest times.

An honour guard paid tribute to Lorne Kelly as about 1,200 family members and friends packed Saint Patrick's Basilica in downtown Ottawa Tuesday morning.

Kelly was not only the man behind Kelly Funeral Homes, he also had a strong commitment to helping the poor, and was an early supporter of the Shepherds of Good Hope.

Crime prevention was also a passion. He was heavily involved in Crime Stoppers, and later became an honourary member of Ottawa Fire and Ottawa Police Services.

Kelly's son Larry said his father was proud to be able to give so much to the community, but never wanted his efforts to be put in the spotlight.

Kelly opened his first funeral home in a converted grocery store on Wellington Street in 1954. His business later grew to six chapels operating across the city.

Kelly didn't set out to be in the funeral business, but when it happened he realized that's where he belonged.

"For him the funeral business was a vocation," said Larry Kelly.

After more than 50 years in the business, he was remembered as a man who didn't know how to retire.

Brian McGarry of Hulse, Playfair & McGarry called him one of Ottawa's icons.

Kelly died from a stroke at his home in Ottawa on Feb. 11. He was 84.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Catherine Lathem