'No vet deserves to die alone:' hundreds attend funeral of Vietnam veteran

Elizabeth Howe
November 28, 2018 - 7:51 am

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

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It was a chilly 23 degrees on Tuesday as hundreds waited outside at Omaha National Cemetery for the funeral of Vietnam veteran, PFC Stanley Stoltz to begin. A line of vehicles stretched down the cemetery drive all the way to Interstate 80 as community members waited to park at a cemetery that normally allows 15 cars per ceremony — not 100.

Most of the funeral attendees never knew Stoltz.

Stoltz was a 73-year-old Vietnam veteran who passed away Nov. 18. His wife died of cancer in 1984 and, while he later remarried and divorced, he had no children. When Good Shepherd Funeral Home was unable to locate any family members, they invited the community to the funeral. 

The community answered with such an outpouring of compassion and support that the ceremony's start time was delayed as attendees waited in lines on their way to the cemetery.

Members of Endless Journey Hospice, some of whom knew Stoltz, attended the service — but most attendees were strangers and many were veterans.

“There’s an old saying that nobody loves a veteran like another veteran,” cemetery representative Mark Macko told the crowd. “That was certainly shown today.”

The far reach of the funeral home's message even managed to reach a far-away brother of Stoltz who attended the ceremony alongside the 400 other "family" members who stepped up to make sure Stoltz was not alone.

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