Strangers honor WWII veteran who died with no family nearby

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (WXMI) — A Grand Rapids veteran got the send off he deserved Wednesday.

Samuel Schwartz, 94, died last week, but he left no family to speak of nearby, so it was looking to be a quiet funeral for the former U.S. Marine. But a close friend, James Linton, who met Schwartz while his wife cared for him at a nursing home, took it upon himself to give him the sendoff he deserved.

It was a struggle Wednesday to find a parking spot at Graceland Cemetery. The Patriot Guard Riders, American Legion posts, and other active duty soldiers and sailors all attended to honor Schwartz.

“I didn’t want to see him just fade away, like old soldiers,” said Linton. “I wanted him to be remembered.”

Schwartz enlisted one year after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. His wife was also a U.S. Marine veteran. They were married for 60 years before she died in 2009.