An Appeal To Find Relatives And Friends For Funeral Of US Navy Veteran

Connie Jacobson, the coroner of Wyoming’s Natrona County, had a challenge on her hands: trying to find the relatives or a friend of a 63-year-old homeless Navy veteran who passed away last month at the Wyoming Medical Center.

She does know 63-year-old Stephen Carl Reiman liked Bruce Springsteen, loved cooking, and served honorably in Vietnam, and that he shouldn’t be buried without someone to mourn his passing and show respect.

Reiman traveled from a Southern California community for homeless veterans to Wyoming with only a backpack containing many Bruce Springsteen CDs, his Navy discharge papers, a copy of his birth certificate, two identification cards, a laptop, and an iPod.

He had earlier told a VA doctor that he had suffered from depression, alcoholism, and PTSD. The symptoms were exacerbated when Reiman’s only son died in Iraq in combat.

By all appearances, Reiman wanted to have a life in the state, and maybe he had connections in Wyoming.  His last post had been aboard the USS Long Beach during his four-year term with the Navy from 1971 to 1975.  He possessed a 2007 Wyoming identification card but there no hints as to why Reiman was in a Sheridan motel.

He was taken from there by ambulance to Sheridan’s Memorial Hospital, and transferred later to Wyoming Medical Center in Caspar.  He died of an illness.  Reiman had no visitors.

Jacobson’s staff tried locating a family member or close friend of Rieman, searched police databases, talked with Veteran Affairs officials in both states, and searched medical records.

He appears to have lived very isolated life, Jacobson observed.  Everything has been done to reveal some information about his family and it greatly disappoints her that nobody has come forward, Casper Star Tribune reported.

She doesn’t want to look back and think more could’ve been done for him, she explained.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE