A suburban Chicago funeral home is asking people to attend the services for a veteran whose family hasn't been found.
Vietnam war veteran John James Murphy, 71, passed away on Dec. 18, an obituary reads on Symonds-Madison Funeral Home’s website.
Murphy, who was born in Chicago but spent his later years in Elgin, was a jet engine mechanic in the U.S. Air Force and earned awards including the National Defense Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation and the Vietnam Service Medal, according to his obituary. He also worked as a store manager at Dominick’s and as a welder.
Murphy spent his final years at River View Rehab Center where he will be remembered “as a very friendly and cordial man who enjoyed helping others,” the funeral home wrote.
“He had a wonderful sense of humor and was always making jokes,” his obituary reads.
Murphy reportedly had one brother, two sisters, one child and grandchildren, but officials have not been able to locate any surviving family members. The Kane County Coroner spent several weeks trying to locate relatives and was unsuccessful, according to the funeral home.
That’s why Symonds-Madison put out a call for others to join them in paying their respects.
“I would love anybody who wants to or is in the area who would like to come,” Daniel Symonds, owner and operator of the funeral home said.
And the outpouring of support so far has been “overwhelming,” Symonds, who is also a first sergeant with the U.S. Army Reserves, said.
But even more, he’s hoping the story of how others are joining to say goodbye to Murphy will find its way to his family.
“That’s one of the main reasons why we are putting the call our or doing this,” Symonds said. “We want and hope and we pray that maybe, by some chance, his daughter or his grandchildren realize that he’s passed.”
The funeral home is holding a visitation at 10 a.m. Wednesday followed by a service at 11 a.m. and interment with military honors at 2 p.m. at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.
“Whatever you guys can do or whatever you want to be part of is greatly appreciated,” Symonds said.