Community honors ‘indigent’ residents who passed without friends or family

Coroner Jeff Wallis, Commissioner Ed Wolfe and CKFR Chaplain Don Melendez spoke at the service

Roughly 70 community members attended a Saturday morning ceremony at Silverdale’s Pioneer Cemetery to honor 15 individuals who were considered “indigent” at the time of their passing.

The Kitsap County Coroner’s Office orchestrated the service to lay the 15 residents to rest, all of whom had were without family or funds to pay for a funeral at the time of their passing. County Coroner Jeff Wallis, County Commissioner Ed Wolfe and Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue Chaplain Don Melendez all spoke to the community members in attendance.

“Thank you all for coming today, it means a great deal to me to see so many members from our community here,” Wallis said during the service. ” I think this is a testament to how tight our community is. Thank you for everyone who has stepped up.”

“I’m proud of Kitsap County and what we do and how we do it together,” Wolfe said. “We are here to respect 15 of those who didn’t have funds or family.”

Wolfe also stated that he was in attendance on behalf of the Board of County Commissioners “to show our respect and our caring for those who didn’t have as much as we had.”

Melendez was asked by Wallis to be the chaplain for the service, to which he said he had no hesitation.

“This is a very honorable and precious moment that we get to spend together,” he started. “I continue to see the depth of the need of this community when people are hurting. When Coroner Wallis asked me to do this today, there was no doubt that this was something I had to do.”

Melendez described the word “indigent” as poor, needy, stricken, deprived, disadvantaged, and just downright stone broke.

“These people literally have had everything taken from them to the point where they couldn’t even afford burial services. Just the fact that there’s nobody here for them, in terms of friends or family, is heartbreaking.”

Melendez was pleasantly surprised with the substantial turnout and lauded the community for their support.

“This to me is really special because these are people who have nobody, and for this turnout in the community to come here and honor these people, this is just amazing,” he said. “Very thankful for what you are doing here today.”

Toward the end of the service, Guitarist Kevin Saunders played a soft melody during a moment of reflection and sang “Amazing Grace” while Wallis and his staff laid the 15 boxes of ashes in the ground.

“Let us be kind today to these people and give them the respect, the honor and the proper burial they deserve,” Melendez concluded. “Let’s make that promise to one another; we will not be alone. This community is too great for anybody to be alone.”

Of those that are known, the names of the individuals laid to rest Saturday are:

  • Sandra J. Post
  • Yvonne Diane Feltzman
  • Richard Dale Miller
  • Remedios Reyes Byrne
  • Herbert Jay Schorr
  • James Lee Anderson
  • Joyce A. Yale
  • Reinee Louise Wohlers
  • Margaret Mary Callahan
  • Csaba A. Feher
  • John P. Marion
  • Robert N. Sage
  • Welch (NFI)
  • Unknown (Malone Estate
  • Unknown

—Tyler Shuey is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at tshuey@soundpublishing.com

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