Community Honors Veteran at His Funeral


Chris O'Meara

A motorcycle group honors Army veteran Edward K. Pearson by attending his funeral.

Avery Haan, Staff Reporter

Edward K. Pearson was a US Army veteran who died on August 31st at the age of 80. He had no immediate family members and would have been buried alone if Legacy Options Funeral and Cremation Services did not intervene. The funeral director Michael Hoyt said, “One of our ways of giving back to the community of Naples is we offer free funeral services to any indigent or homeless veterans.”

Pearson’s obituary was put out online in a small notice in the Naples Daily News where more than 2,000 people commented on it. The last line of the obituary said, “This veteran has no immediate family. All are welcome to attend.” Many people shared news of his funeral on social media, including Jake Tapper from CNN, who was retweeted 8,000 times. Over 100 condolence messages were left on the Leagacy Options Funeral and Cremation Services website. Some comments on his obituary were, “A grateful band in New Jersey appreciates it more than you could imagine”, “I don’t know you, nor am I an American, but thank you for your service”, and “Your smiling face will always be missed here. You brought joy into the store every day.”

On October 1st, the lines for the funeral were so long that it started thirty minutes late, as 1,000 people came to honor Pearson. Melanie Lynch, who attended his funeral, said, “It just touched my heart. I just knew that I had to be here. He served his country, I’m sure very proudly. I think that it’s appropriate that we honor our heroes. I only wish I had a chance to know him when he was alive.” Junior Olivia Pechin commented on the story, “I think that’s really sweet that there was such a strong community built around one event. I think that as a veteran, he deserved that special honor especially when he didn’t have any family left. Also, it makes me happy the amount of support people feel for veterans and our country.”