YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – When a decorated World War II veteran passed away quietly and without fanfare at a nursing home in Cortland Manor, he left behind no family.
One woman decided that just would not do.
Bob Graham, a 97-year-old Marine, private first class, had no living relatives. His wife of more than 60 years, whom he adored, passed away two years ago.His funeral will be held Friday, April 26, starting at 10:00 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, 1377 East Main St. in Shrub Oak, N.Y. A burial service will follow in the Bronx.
“I was afraid the funeral was not going to be well attended,” said 27-year-old Beth Regan. “I thought there would only be a handful of people there.”
Regan met Graham while volunteering at the nursing home where he lived.
They became good friends. She helped throw his 95th birthday party, and now she’s made it her social media mission to make sure that Graham has a proper, well attended funeral.
Word has gotten out in posts on sites like Reddit where it has about 1,000 comments and more than 56,000 upvotes.
“He was so special, so humble,” said Regan. “And of all the people, he deserves the biggest sendoff. I want him to have hundreds of people attend.”
But she particularly remembers the kindness and love he shared with his wife, Rosie, before she died 2017.
“He brushed her hair every morning,” said Regan . “He’d held a mirror in front of her tell her every day how beautiful she was. When she was unable to hold utensils, every day Bob would feed her first before he ate himself.”
She is now hoping that by sharing Graham’s story, people who see it – even strangers – will be moved to attend his funeral.
The funeral will include a police escort for the hearse from the funeral home to the church. A pipe and drum band, a 21 gun salute and the playing of Taps will be part of the final services.