Vietnam vet died alone but 1,000 strangers came to his NJ funeral
WATERFORD — A South Jersey funeral director made sure that a veteran with no family got the honors he deserved on Friday — and about 1,000 strangers showed up to pay their respects.
Peter Turnpu, 77, received full honors Friday at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Memorial Cemetery, the state operated veterans cemetery in Wrightstown, courtesy of the LeRoy P. Wooster Funeral Home.
Wooster told NBC Philadelphia that while going through his belongings he came across a letter from the Veterans Administration that promised a military funeral despite the government shutdown. Turnpu had no living relatives.
Wooster organized a procession to the cemetery and encouraged people to show up and give the Vietnam vet a proper sendoff.
Mourners lined up and saluted as pallbearers carried the flag-draped casket.
VA provided a military honor guard for Turnpu and paid for the plot. Wooster said he donated a casket.
His one-sentence obituary says only that "the public is invited to honor a Vietnam Veteran with no known family."
A neighbor found his body at Turnpu's home in the Atco section on Dec. 9. He died of natural causes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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