U.S. Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 1st Class Seth Johnson

Strangers rally to attend funeral for veteran who died alone an hour ago

January 18, 2019 - 5:56 pm
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NORTH HANOVER TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — A group of more than 1,000 caring strangers has gathered for the funeral of an Army veteran who died alone.

Officials say 77-year-old Peter Turnpu died at his New Jersey home last month from natural causes and had no known relatives and few friends. Funeral director LeRoy Wooster says he was asked to help by a police officer and immediately agreed to put together a service for Turnpu.

More than 1,000 were present at the man’s funeral in North Hanover Township on Friday afternoon to pay their respects.

Wooster says he found out that Turnpu was a veteran of the Vietnam War who received an honorable discharge — making him eligible for a burial with full military honors. Wooster also donated a casket, transportation and services.

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This story has been corrected to show that the funeral was in North Hanover Township, not Atco.