Surprise memorial ceremony years in the making

CATONSVILLE (WMAR) - Jan Casey woke up yesterday in Georgia, and she had no idea she would soon be on her way to Maryland for a second memorial dedicated to her late husband. 

"It's like, you wake up and things are starting all over again. It's remarkable," Casey said. 

Her husband, Vietnam veteran and ATF special agent Captain Larry Casey died 16 years ago. He died at 52 years old from the flu. After his death, his family separated his ashes. Some stayed with Casey in Georgia. Others came up to Maryland with his best friend Cliff. When Cliff passed away in February, his friend David Fullarton was helping go through his things when he stumbled upon Larry's ashes. 

"None of us had any connection with Larry. We had never met him," Fullarton said. "We really didn't know what to do with these remains." 

He reached out to the Baltimore National Cemetery to see what they could do. They had trouble locating any of Larry's family so they set a memorial service for him for Tuesday.

Fullarton was worried no one would show up, and sent out a post on social media about the unaccompanied burial, meaning no family would be present. 

"We were concerned there was not going to be anyone at this service and that word spread like wildfire," Fullarton said.

Then, just 24 hours before the ceremony, the cemetery director was able to reach Casey's daughter Leah in Texas. 

"I think I was shaking for a couple of hours. I had to pull myself together," Leah Casey said. 

She connected him to Casey's widow Jan and the pair flew out right away.

"They wanted to honor him and I think that was the most overwhelming part, was that they wanted to do this for my dad," Leah Casey said. 

"Not many people have the opportunity to have two memorial services," Jan Casey said. 

They were also shocked at the overwhelming show of support. Dozens of strangers from across the state came to pay their respects. Heartwarming for the family and fellow veteran Ed Crawford who came from Ocean City.

"There's hope. There's justice and there's still a trust to honor commitment," Crawford said. 

The Casey's are very thankful for a second chance to honor a loving husband and father and for their new bond with Baltimore. 

"He remembered every opportunity to be of service to others and he was proud to be part of hte protection of our freedom," Jan Casey said. 

He served in the army from 1966-1970. Jan says an ATF officer training building is named after him in Georgia. Leah said she plans to bring her children to visit their grandfather's resting place at the Baltimore National Cemetery.

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