• Catholic Memorial students hold funeral for veteran without family


    WEST ROXBURY, Mass. - Students from Catholic Memorial School held a funeral for a veteran who died without leaving behind any family or friends.

    When U.S. Army veteran Timothy Fowl passed away last week without a home or any known living family or friends, eight members from the Catholic Memorial School basketball team stepped up to help.

    The young men acted as pallbearer's for Fowl's funeral service, making sure the man who devoted his life to serving his country had the funeral a hero deserves.

    The service, which was held at the school's chapel on Thursday morning, was led by sophomore Kurtis Henderson and senior Brendan Ryan, alongside Spencer Aronson, Ayobami Ogungbadero, Pat Manning, Jalen Jordan, Declan O'Sullivan, and Ikenna Azums.

    Together, they honored Fowl, who was born in 1961 and served as a Medical Specialist in the U.S. Army from 1983 to 1986.

    "Catholic Memorial has taught me the difference between right and wrong," said Brendan, a Peer Minister and captain of the basketball team. "I think it’s important that we choose right over wrong one hundred percent of the time. What we did today is a witness to that. I think being with my brothers and commemorating the life of a soldier as we did here today has only strengthened that bond between all of us. I hope that kids can learn from our team’s bond, personally, and the bond of this special community on campus.”

    Alongside their coach, Denis Tobin, the eight student-athletes wheeled Fowl's casket into the school's chapel after it arrived by hearse.

    The students were presented with the opportunity to take on this service initative by Kevin Durazo, the Director of Campus Ministry, on Monday afternoon. Without hesitation, the boys agreed to volunteer, Durazo said.

    Father Peter Stamm of St. Joseph Parish in Needham celebrated the funeral Mass. He offered a homily and eulogy for Fowl as three separate Catholic Memorial classes attended the funeral to pay their respects.

    At the end of the funeral Mass, the pallbearers led the casket's procession out of the chapel and into the hearse. Before loading the casket into the hearse, the boys presented the casket to an Army Honor guard. 

    In front of an American flag at half-mast, the honor guard presented Fowl and his casket with full military honors, which included a customary playing of Taps, a presentation of the American flag to Head Coach Tobin, and a final salute.

    "Here at CM, we're a family," said school President, Dr. Peter Folan at the conclusion of the Mass. "A proud family. We're a community that welcomes people in and accepts them for where they are. We ask them to join us on our journey toward being more, doing more, and caring for others."

    This isn't the first time the school has hosted a funeral for a homeless veteran. Back in Nov. 2017, Catholic Memorial laid to rest Army veteran John T. Fitzmaurice, who also passed away with no living friends or family.

    Most recently, the school's football team laid to rest Air Force veteran Markham Lyons before a Sectional playoff game this past November.

    This marks Catholic Memorial’s fifth funeral service for veterans over the past year and a half.


    RELATED: Oldest living U.S. veteran, Richard Overton, dies at 112

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