In sad veteran's news, an 80-year-old retired Marine died like a true patriot laying wreaths on the graves of veterans last Saturday.
Missouri native and retired Marine Fred Kaffenberger was at Leavenworth National Cemetery outside Kansas City taking part in a national Wreaths Across America program when he died suddenly.
Kaffenberger, who was a member of The Sons of the American Revolution, was in full Revolutionary War uniform when he died laying wreaths on veterans' graves.
Family say the devoted vet was about to lay a wreath on the tombstone of his son-in-law, a Korean War vet, before he fell over and died.
“We have a son-in-law buried over there and he had done all the other wreaths and he was headed to decorate his,” said his wife, 79-year-old Wanda Kaffenberger.
“He just collapsed and was gone.”
"This is the way he would’ve chosen to go. Wouldn’t you want to go doing what you love to do and go in an instant?" Wanda Kaffenberger asked. "Yeah, I would too."
After retiring from the U.S. Marine Corp, Kaffenberger spent 33 years as a history and civics teacher at Kansas City Public Schools. But when he left the classroom, he didn’t leave teaching behind. He researched his own genealogy to find an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War. "It was the connection with the past, George Washington was his hero,” Wanda, his wife of 48 years said. The discovery meant he could join The Sons of the American Revolution, proudly wearing the uniform of his ancestors. “It was something he was proud to do, he didn’t feel silly didn’t feel ridiculous he felt like he was helping educating this country,” Wanda said. Kaffenberger spent much of his time honoring veterans, whether it be at parades, funerals or at cemeteries, decorating veterans' graves. Family say they are proud of the life he lived and how he died. “Hollywood doesn’t write things as great as this man’s story,” daughter Amber DiGiovanni told Fox 4 News.
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