Public invited to funeral for veteran who died alone in Columbia

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COLUMBIA — A 71-year-old Air Force veteran died in Missouri with no family around him. Now, the funeral home handling his arrangements is inviting the public to attend his funeral.

Paul Edwin Hammock, who served in the Air Force from 1968 to 1972 and was based at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, died April 11 at University of Missouri Hospital. No family could be located.

In the era of the COVID-19, restrictions will preclude the normal in-person gathering. Funeral director Reid Millard said those attending the funeral for Paul Edwin Hammock of Columbia will remain in their vehicles. The funeral will be at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the parking lot of Parker-Millard Funeral Service and Crematory in Columbia.

The funeral will include full military honors.

There will also be a Facebook livestream.

Parker-Millard owner Reid Millard said he sees it has his duty to honor those who have served in the armed forces in cases in which they are homeless, without family or have other extenuating circumstances.

“Somewhere, there is someone who loved this gentleman or still does,” Millard said. “If they are still thinking about him or are already in Heaven, they would probably be looking down and be proud that he is getting the service that he deserves.”

Missouri Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander Troy Williams called the public funeral an “amazing way” to show respect. An obituary can be found on the funeral home's website

Tune in to KOMU 8 News tomorrow for more coverage of Paul Edwin Hammock's funeral.