Hundreds of strangers attend funeral of Mass. Navy veteran with no local family

Hundreds of strangers attended the funeral of 84-year-old U.S. Navy veteran Eileen Robichaud in Methuen, Mass., on Friday after it was revealed she had no local family to attend.

CBS Boston first reported on the unexpected outpouring of support, noting only three mourners had personally known the decorated Korean War veteran. 

According to CBS Boston, Kenneth H. Pollard Funeral Home invited the public to attend after Robichaud’s cousin from California said she had no local family to attend the funeral. 

“I never would have thought in my wildest dreams that this would happen,” Aaron Mizen, the director of the funeral home said of the crowd. “Every veteran deserves to be honored for serving our nation. We cannot allow this sailor’s remains and her service to our nation be discarded or forgotten."

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Three relatives from across the country attended the funeral, telling CBS Boston they thought: “Eileen would be very proud and would love every minute of it."  

The eulogy was given by State Representative Linda Dean Campbell, who praised Robichaud for embarking on the "bold adventure" of being a woman in the military at a time when "there weren’t many women in our armed forces."

“For all of us, or most of us, despite having never known or met Eileen Robichaud, all of us can certainly discern one thing about her and that is the fact that she had a lot of spunk. A lot of spunk. A considerable amount of spunk was required to induce an only child, especially a young woman back in 1953, to enlist out of high school in the Navy,” Campbell said.