Estranged family finds out community holding funeral for Mountain Home veteran

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. - Marshall Wyrick served in the U.S. Navy from 1984-1990 during the Iraq-Iran War.

Around February 11, the 56-year-old veteran passed away.

But Marshall was not really known to anyone in the Mountain Home area. Yet about 150 people came out to his funeral, from fellow veterans, to members of the community.

"Make sure that veterans of all branches of service are laid to rest properly and given the honors like they deserve," said Geraldine Butts, the chaplain for the Post 52 Honor Guard.

After Wyrick passed, Kirby and Family Funeral and Cremation Services in Mountain Home contacted the VA and found out about his military status.

They started searching for any of Marshall's relatives.

"Facebook search, google searches, we try to find some connection," Heather Marsalis, a funeral director, said.

But no luck. Until two weeks later.

"In the years that my sister and I and our other family were estranged from my brother, we would be curious about him," Andrea Kanuth, Wyrick's sister, said. "And we would look online and try to see if we could find out where he was, what his life situation was."

His other estranged sister and her friend decided to look him up on Sunday, not knowing that he had died, or that his funeral was just days away.

"My sister put his first and last name in and nothing came up," Kanuth said. "And her friend put the entire name in, and the first thing that came up was his obituary."

Andrea and her husband, and Gordon Wyrick Jr., a cousin, and his wife, came from Texas to attend the service.

"He had the ultimate greatest heart that you can imagine," Gordon Wyrick Jr. said.

"I felt like it was the last thing I could do for him," Kanuth said. "And I also felt like it was something I could do for myself and my sister."

The service included everything from a flag-folding ceremony to shots of the canon.

"People here decided that they would give me the flag," Kanuth said. "And my heart is full to bursting."

And even if his family didn't show up, the people in the community who didn't even know him still would have.

"It feels good," Marsalis said. "But I'll be honest with you. I've lived here for almost 21 years, and it's not surprising."

And Kirby and Family, the funeral home, paid for the service for Wyrick. He will be laid to rest in Fayetteville National Cemetery.