Strangers fill a Euclid church to say goodbye to a veteran with no relatives

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EUCLID, Ohio (WJW) — Somber faces at a military funeral in Euclid said goodbye to a man they’ve never met.

“He has always had a friend and brother in arms. We’ll always be there to support each other,” said Greg Peterson, a VFW Rider.

US Army Veteran John Krebel left this world on April 27th at age 90.

John Krebel (WJW Photo)

“I think he would be speechless to know how many people were here and helped to see him off,” said Jessica Polack, Director of Community Relations at Governor’s Village, an assisted living facility in Mayfield Village where Krebel lived.

He has no surviving family or friends.

“I remember him from his sisters’ two funerals and they were never married, never had children and just, unfortunately, there’s nobody left,” said Ross DeJohn III, one of the owners of DeJohn-Flynn-Mylott Funeral Home in Willoughby Hills.

Instead his loved ones at the funeral were the staff from Governor’s that had been taking care of him since July of 2020.

“He kind of kept to himself but he was just so sweet and kind and we were thankful to have helped care for him in the last part of his life,” said Polack.

DeJohn took care of the services. “He had prearranged his own funeral and wanted everything just like he did for his sisters and I really just thought, and I said you know we have to honor this man’s wishes.”

(WJW)

DeJohn was prepared for just a few people to show up but what he saw was overwhelming.

“I think it shows that really humanity is kind and people want to be there to support each other. No matter what.”

Dozens of strangers sat in the pews at Saint John of the Cross Parish for a Catholic Mass.

(WJW)

And with a proper military sendoff, the staff from Governor’s were presented with the American flag that covered his casket. “We’re just grateful to have it and to be able to celebrate him,” said Polak.

With love from the community, John was laid to rest at All Souls Cemetary in Chardon.

“I would want John to know that on a day like today, in receiving the final rights, the final honors he deserved that he wasn’t alone. That people were here with him,” said DeJohn.

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