Many People Turn Out To Attend Troubled Veteran’s Funeral With Honor

People traveled from Utah, Montana, Colorado and across Wyoming to join other strangers, police and veterans at Evansville, WY. to be part of the funeral service for a man they never knew. They weren’t about to let a Vietnam veteran go without acknowledgment.

The flood of people who attended the funeral of Stephen Carl Reiman, 63, had answered the appeal of the Natrona Country coroner following his death in Casper a few weeks ago. Among the mourners was Reiman’s sister, Diane, who traveled from Southern California, after learning of her brother’s death.

She had to be there, Diane said. All the love shown has been overwhelming.

Most of the people knew little about Reiman except that he had moved from California to Sheridan, he liked Bruce Springsteen’s music, and had suffered from PTSD, depression, and alcoholism.

Diane remembered her brother as the lad who loved bowling and playing soldier, a man who strove to keep a job and overcome his addiction. She also knew he was obsessed by the unknown work he did during his tour there as a sailor in Vietnam and a stormy family history but tried to live as best he could.

Stephen was sporadic in his calls to her, phoning every few years, the last time in 2010. She tried to return the call, but his number was out of service.  Similarly, his post office box was shut down.

Diane dreaded that he would die alone on some street that she would never learn of his death, that he would die anonymously, and that his death would never be remembered. This was not the case. The chapel filled 45 minutes before the service began, and was followed by a parade of vehicles: police cars from Casper, Mills, and Evansville and SUVs from the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office.

Pastor Rob Peterson said during the service he was gratified that Casper area residents ensured that when Stephen’s flag was folded and taps were performed that there are many people paying tribute to him.

The flag that had covered his casket was folded and given to Diane with a salute, Casper Star Tribune reported.

She was approached by three ICU nurses from Wyoming Medical Centre who cared for her brother before he passed away. They assured her Stephen went quickly without suffering and he wasn’t completely alone.

Reiman was buried in the Wyoming cemetery with fellow servicemen and servicewomen.

Ian Harvey

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