Proper goodbye for veteran Richard Graeber

Richard Graeber was 67 when he died

The Patriot Guard Riders escorted the remains of Richard Graeber to Willamette National Cemetery, March 30, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
The Patriot Guard Riders escorted the remains of Richard Graeber to Willamette National Cemetery, March 30, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN 6) — A Vietnam veteran who died in 2014 but whose ashes were discovered recently in a storage shed will be laid to rest Monday.

Richard Graeber, a helicopter door gunner in the Vietnam War, died at age 67 in 2014. He was buried on March 30, 2015 (Courtesy photo to KOIN 6 News)
Richard Graeber, a helicopter door gunner in the Vietnam War, died at age 67 in 2014. He was buried on March 30, 2015 (Courtesy photo to KOIN 6 News)

Richard Graeber, who was 67 when he died, will be buried in a military service at the Willamette National Cemetery.

With Patriot Guard Riders lining the path, friends came to pay their final respects to Richard Graeber.

“It’s important to those people who have lost someone to know that others care,” Chris Keller, an Oregon state captain with the Patriot Guard Riders, told KOIN 6 News on March 6.

The woman who found his cremains, Norma Guthrie, planned the memorial for him.

The Patriot Guard Riders escorted the remains of Richard Graeber to Willamette National Cemetery, March 30, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
The Patriot Guard Riders escorted the remains of Richard Graeber to Willamette National Cemetery, March 30, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

Guthrie made the arrangements and paid off his bills, but had a hard time finding Graeber’s surviving family, aside from a son who was adopted to other parents.

She was afraid no one would show up to the funeral, but her fears were not realized.

“I was very fearful it was going to be just me and my husband Dave.”

In addition to Patriot Guard Riders other friends of Richard came. The American flag symbolizing the life lost was given to Richard’s only surviving relative, a 6-year-old son named Richie.

Memories of his father are faint. He said he would most remember that his dad “was a gunner.”

Richie’s adoptive father, Chad Weaver, told KOIN 6 News he and his wife “decided we were not going to hold that from him because we wanted him to know who his dad was.”

Chaplain Terry Schrick said it “was so neat” the community showed up to honor Richard Graeber and to let Richie know “his dad’s life had value.”

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