Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cory Endlich laid to rest

The Iraq war took Sgt. Cory Endlich before the people who knew and loved him had a chance to say goodbye.

War will do that.

But on Monday, they were able to say goodbye and to honor his sacrifice and to reminisce about the young man they will so dearly miss.

Hundreds of family and friends – former co-workers, cousins, former classmates, teachers, neighbors, even complete strangers – filed by Endlich’s open casket at Paquelet Funeral Home in Massillon.

“They don’t make kids like him anymore,” said Dee Dwyer, of the Athens Restaurant in Canton, where Endlich once worked as a bus boy. “Everything was, ‘Yes, ma’am. Yes, sir.’ ... He was a great young man.”

Endlich, 23, of Massillon, died June 9 in Taji, Iraq, of wounds suffered from enemy small-arms fire. A paratrooper, he was on a scouting patrol for a forward observation post about 20 miles northwest of Baghdad when a single bullet struck him down.

“Cory Endlich was a true American hero,” said state Sen. Kirk Schuring, R-Canton. “I offered by condolences to his parents (Randy and Cathi Endlich) and appreciation for the ultimate sacrifice he made for his country.”

Jerry Howell, of Massillon, knew Endlich as a youngster playing Little League baseball.

“He was just really determined. A good kid,” Howell said. “I remember that one big hit he had. He was so happy.”

Endlich’s cousin Alex Karl, of Newcomerstown, attended Monday’s calling hours with a group of close cousins. They remembered Endlich as always happy and funny whenever they got together.

Nate Smith, 21, of Massillon, knew Endlich since the sixth grade at Andrews Junior High.

“We were in a lot of classes together,” Smith said. “He helped me out with my homework. I’m very honored to have known him.”

Bob Wenzel, announcer for the Washington High marching band, said Endlich was a “gopher” for his mother, Cathi, who was keeper of the band uniforms.

“It was impossible for anybody not to be touched by this family,” Wenzel said. “They are the all-American family.”

Wenzel remembers Endlich as polite and disciplined, someone who took a leadership role within the band.

Endlich graduated from Washington High in 2003. He was a four-year swing band member and a tuba player for the marching band.

Peg Mendiola, of Massillon, also knew Endlich from his years in the marching band.

“He was just a delight,” she said. “He was a real nice guy. He made sure some of those students straightened up and put those uniforms away in the right way.”

John Fothergill, 19, of Massillon, met Endlich on the cross country team. They became friends even though Endlich was an upperclassman. And they corresponded after graduation.

“He was just an all-out good kid,” he said. “I respected him.”

Gail Patti, of Massillon, taught Endlich at Gorrell Elementary. She remembers “his wonderful smile and his happy, outgoing personality.”

Vietnam veteran Jim Stanitz, of Jackson Township, was among the Patriot Guard Riders holding American flags at the funeral home entrances Monday.

“It just seems like the right thing to do,” said Stanitz, whose son has done two tours of duty in “the sand box (Iraq)” and is now stationed in Germany.

“I think it’s important to pay honor and respect to fallen service members and their families,” he said. “I was in Vietnam, and when we came home, it was a whole lot different. We’re not going to let it be that way for these troops.”

From the Independent

Related Link:
Cory M. Endlich dies 'of wounds suffered from enemy small arms fire'