SAD, BUT FOR THE LACK OF PLANNING.......
ARIZONA CITY, Ariz. -
An Arizona City veteran who passed away a month ago at the age of 88 served our country during World War II, but there hasn't been a funeral for him yet because his widow couldn't afford to bury him.
His widow is 95 years old. She had to come up with about $4,000 up front to pay this funeral home to transport her husband's body to the National Cemetery in Phoenix. This woman has been through everything with him, and all she wants to do is give him a proper goodbye.
"I was playing hard to get…"
Lucille Lent and her husband Edwin Lent Jr. got married back in 1942 after just two weeks of dating.
"We had so much fun together you know."
He served during World War II. His job was dropping charges off the end of a naval destroyer. He ruptured both eardrums from all the explosions. But Lucille was very proud of him.
The 95-year-old never left her husband's side. He lost a leg in a road accident, and later battled colon cancer and Alzheimer's.
Edwin was 88 when he died July 31st. To this day his body remains at the mortuary.
"Just thinking that he's there in that mortuary... it's sad to see her go through this," says family friend Kim Tapia.
Tapia has been helping Lucille through the process. The veteran's association pays for Edwin's actual burial, but only covers a fraction of his funeral home expenses.
"They wanted all the money up front. At that time it was $4,200. She had no life insurance or anything," says Tapia.
"I offered to make payments but some of them will and some of them won't," says Lucille.
The director of Heritage Coolidge Funeral Home told the Casa Grande Dispatch: "we do not do payment arrangements. Most funeral homes don't. We are compassionate in what we do. We are a family owned business. We have to have a cash flow to serve other families."
The funeral director did not call us back for a comment.
Lucille managed to scrape together a couple thousand dollars by selling some of her husband's stuff. She kept the money in a coffee tin, but a big portion of it was stolen.
Fortunately, some veterans' rights advocates found out about her story and stepped in to help. Thursday, one wrote a letter to the editor to try and raise some money.
Late this afternoon, Lucille found out they raised enough to pay the funeral home bill. This World War II vet will finally be laid to rest.
"Just glad she's getting this done, she can lay him to rest and have some closure for herself," says Tapia.
Edwin's burial is scheduled for next month.
She says what she misses most are the little things about him, like eating ice cream together in the kitchen.