Strangers volunteer to carry WWII vet, retired CPD officer to final resting place

ALSIP, Ill. — John Hubbard spent his life carrying the burdens of his generation, and now a group of volunteers is stepping up to carry the WWII veteran to his final resting place.

After a life of service including both World War II and 30 years in the Chicago Police Department, Hubbard suffered a stroke last month, and passed away in hospice Wednesday at the age of 91.

Neighbor Beverly Falls’ family lived next door to the Hubbards for 48 years, and were close family friends.

"He was known as... a friendly patrolman," Falls said. "He served his country."

With few of Hubbards' friends left, and only a few family members living out of state, Falls asked WGN to see if military or CPD veterans would volunteer to carry Hubbard’s coffin to his final resting place.

The Chicago Police Department organizes such services for line of duty deaths, and commanding officers can send members to assist at funerals of active members who die outside of the line of duty. Organizations like the Saint Jude Police League provide services to retired members when resources are available.

“I think veterans and police will volunteer, and America is a great country and when it all boils down, we come together and do the right thing,” Falls said.

It turns out Falls was correct, as within minutes of WGN airing the story about her call for volunteers, at least six CPD and military veterans contacted her to say they would heed the call.

Hubbard will be buried in Restvale Cemetery in Alsip after a graveside memorial service scheduled for Wednesday, May 22 at 11:45 a.m. He will be laid to rest beside his wife of 53 years, who passed away in 2012.

He will be carried to his grave by men in the same uniforms he wore to serve his country and his city for so many years.

While Falls says she believes they will have enough pallbearers for the service, she said any other military or CPD veterans are welcome to attend.

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