Story and Photos by Robin Postell
VALDOSTA, Ga. – On Friday, October 18, 2019, a Vietnam veteran, Richard Fatzinger, was honored with a moving graveside service at 2 p.m.
Several hundred people showed up for a full military service arranged by Music Funeral Home.
For a man who served his country, but whose circle grew smaller towards the end of his life, no family was expected at his mortal send-off.
Music Funeral Home put out a message on social media, which traveled far, shared by hundreds. In less than 24 hours, military brethren of Fatzinger, though they might not have known each other in life, knew him thoroughly through his death.
“In the military there is a brotherhood and sisterhood, there’s a fraternity and sorority, that binds us together forever,” the Hospice Chaplain delivering the graveside service Friday afternoon.
The Golden Apple hospice took care of Fatzinger in his final days.
Fatzinger, born January 24, 1952, was an Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam from 1971-1972. Fatzinger suffered from PTSD and lived alone in Valdosta with help of a friend, Angela Edwards, who kept him fed and clothed.
In the service led by the hospice chaplain, Edwards was recognized.
“A dear friend who kept him fed and clothed and clean, this dear woman would sleep outside his apartment to make sure he did not wander too far from home at night,” the chaplain said. ” We are grateful, Angela, for your tender loving care for this man.”
Kim Dukes, sitting near Edwards, provided custodial care services from the State of Georgia and from the V.A. “Behind them,” the chaplain said, “is seated the great hospice staff that helped care for Richard in his last days. We are grateful he spent his last days in a place that is so wonderful, The Golden Apple in Moultrie.”
Sheriff Ashley Paulk and law enforcement from many counties, as well as military representatives from Moody, the V.A., the VFW, and motorcycle veterans which included both active servicemembers and first responders.
Fatzinger’s funeral was handled by Music Funeral Services.
And on behalf of Valdosta Today, fly, fly away, soldier. Peace be with you.