PAINESVILLE, Ohio (WJW) – Family, friends, former classmates and strangers joined together in Painesville Saturday morning for a funeral procession followed by the funeral to honor the life of a Northeast Ohio Marine.
Friday evening a constant flow of people filed into Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home in Mentor to pay respects to 19-year-old Lance Corporal Austin Schwenk.
Schwenk’s funeral started at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Riverside High School Field House in Painesville Township.
“I knew a Marine passed. I didn’t know who it was and then three days after, I was riding my motorcycle and I figured out it was Austin and I was just dumbfounded,” said Lance Corporal Riley Sherrill.
Oct. 18, Austin was shot and killed in the Marine barracks on base at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina. Military investigators say a fellow Marine is suspected of pulling the trigger.
Tuesday, his family received his remains at Hopkins Airport before a police escorted the hearse to the funeral home, first passing by Riverside High.
“I can’t even wrap my head around it really. It’s nothing that anyone really want to go through, but we lost a good guy,” said former Auburn Career Center classmate Seth Hill.
“We were only together for two years, but it felt like we knew each other for a lot longer than that. The memories are just something I don’t think any of us are going to forget,” said another classmate Caden Meade.
Schwenk was a 2022 graduate of Riverside High School in Painesville Township, and also attended Auburn Career Center part-time, working on cars.
Coincidentally, he was born in North Carolina, when his father, also a Marine, was stationed at Camp Lejeune.
He said his father was his inspiration for becoming a Marine.
“We support each other all the way. Doesn’t matter if you’re Navy, Marines, Air Force, it doesn’t matter,” said Air Force veteran Ed Williams.
Veterans from the Patriot Guard Riders stood outside of the funeral home as mourners walked in.
“We’re here as a show of respect and honor to the family and to Austin,” said Navy veteran Chip Engler.
Shirrell says he and Austin enlisted in the Marines around the same time and pushed each other as they attended separate boot camps.
He will also have the honor of folding the American flag that will be presented to his mother on Saturday.
“I’m glad I’m going to be able to fold the flag for him. I’m going to fold it up nice and tight, make sure it’s beautiful for his momma. It’s a beautiful honor, so I’m going to make sure I do it right because I love that man,” said Sherrill.
The procession departed from the funeral home at 9:00 a.m. For anyone interested in lining the route, the directions they plan to take are listed below:
- Leave Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home & Cremation Center and travel eastbound on State Route 20
- -Turn right onto South State Street
- -Follow South State Street and veer left onto Bank St.
- -Follow Bank St. to Walnut St. and turn left on Walnut St.
- -Take Walnut St. to Riverside Dr.
- -Continue on Riverside Dr., go past the actual high school building and enter the southernmost drive of the high school property.