Community to honor deceased 90-year-old veteran, who had no family, with ‘proper mass that he deserves’

Veterans Voices

MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio (WJW) – A community in Northeast Ohio is banding together to provide a proper farewell to John Krebel, a U.S. Army veteran who died at age 90 without any surviving relatives.

Krebel spent his final days at the Governor’s Village, an assisted-living facility in Mayfield Village just east of Cleveland. He arrived at the facility in July 2020, but in that short time, he made quite an impression on the staff.

“He had a lot of struggles, a lot of hardship, but he still had a very pleasant attitude,” said Michelle Gorman, executive director of Governor’s Village. “He would joke around because he didn’t speak well often… When we did get things right and we did do things that he wanted to do, he would give us a couple of these (thumbs up) and a big smile.”

John Krebel (Governor’s Village)

Ross DeJohn III, the owner of a funeral home in the neighboring town of Willoughby Hills, said Krebel had made his own pre-arrangements for a funeral in 2017. DeJohn also handled services for both of Krebel’s sisters, who never married or had children. Krebel’s state-appointed guardian had no one to contact, either.

“The guardian simply stated, ‘Well, maybe we should just take him to the cemetery and just bury him,'” said DeJohn, who described Krebel as a proud veteran. “I said, ‘This isn’t right.'”

The funeral home reached out to the pastor at St. John of the Cross Church, in the neighboring city of Euclid, where Krebel had been a member. Father John Betters then promised to give Krebel “the proper mass that he deserves,” DeJohn said.

A pastoral associate at St. John became distraught when she learned that John Krebel didn’t have any family to say goodbye, so she emailed ten parishioners, asking if would they attend the funeral mass. They reached out on social media, and now it appears that John Krebel will not be going to his final resting place alone.

“I think it’s really neat to see that people care that much, and that they want to be a part of this and to honor this man’s life and honor his military service,” DeJohn said.

John Krebel’s funeral mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, May 3 at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church in Euclid.  He will be buried with full military honors.

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