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Veteran Died While Changing the Flag / Nick Ehrhardt

Veteran Died While Changing the Flag

James Catron (Canton Repository)James Catron, an 83-year-old Korean War veteran, died of natural causes on Memorial Day while attempting to replace a tattered American flag atop his 20-foot TV tower in Perry Township, Ohio.

He had taken all the usual safety precautions, including using a safety belt, and had not fallen, according to the story reporter Doug Staley wrote for the Canton Repository.

“I guess he climbed it [the TV tower] a couple of times a year to change that [flag],” Stark County coroner’s investigator Rick Walters said. “I guess the neighbor gave him the flag. The new flag was in the garage.”

Later on Monday, Perry firefighters returned to Catron’s house to replace the flag, according to Deputy Fire Chief Larry Sedlock. Firefighters used a ladder truck to access the TV tower.

“It was Memorial Day, and he was trying to be patriotic. It was the only thing we could do to help out,” Sedlock said.

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This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She was the director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers before she passed away in 2015.