Following Lothringer’s death, his daughter Rona Wallace took to Facebook to announce the tragic news “with a heart crushed beyond belief.”
In her eulogy, Wallace praised Lothringer, who was wounded while serving in the Vietnam War, for being “an amazing man, father, husband, mentor and friend.”
“He loved unconditionally and would give his last dime to someone in need. He had a servants heart and loved helping others. His generosity and kindness, among many other beautiful character traits, always made me proud,” she wrote.
Wallace was extremely appreciative to those who provided her and her family comfort during the difficult time, but one stranger’s touching tribute, in particular, moved them profoundly.
To pay tribute to Lothringer’s service in the Marine Corps, his family prepared a full military honor funeral. During the procession led by Marine Corps, Wallace noticed a stranger pulling over and getting out of his car.
The anonymous man stood solemnly with his hand over his heart, honoring Wallace’s father and her family as they passed by.
“We passed many other cars along the way that simply went about their day,” Wallace wrote in another post.
Deeply touched, the family snapped a photo of the man, and Wallace decided to track him down.
Yesterday during my Daddy’s funeral procession, led by the United States Marine Corps, my family noticed the man in this…
“Since his license plate showed in the photo, my daughter did some digging and we found him!!!” Wallace wrote.
The stranger turned out to be U.S. Navy veteran Ernest Boerlin. Wallace then messaged Boerlin privately on Facebook to express her heartfelt gratitude.
“It was an honor to show my respect for a fellow serviceman and their family. Please accept my prayers and condolences to you and your family for your loss. Fair winds and following seas. God bless,” the humble Boerlin replied to Wallace.
Boerlin later wrote on his own timeline, “I only hope that my actions demonstrate what I was taught by my father; that patriotism, honor, and respect can’t simply be posted on Facebook alone but must be lived every day.”
It’s a simple gesture—saluting a late Marine Corps veteran during his funeral procession—yet, it meant the world to his family.
“Your act of kindness and respect touched our family and friends very deeply and we are grateful,” Wallace wrote.
Wallace’s post has gone viral, receiving over 671,000 reactions.
One user commented, “Back in the day and still today in smaller towns everyone would pull over as a sign of respect. A tradition almost lost—and it shouldn’t be.”
I miss you, Daddy. I can’t believe you’re gone. This is just unbearable. I will never be the same.
Indeed, we should follow Boerlin’s example because all military personnel deserve our respect for the sacrifices they have made to serve the common good.
We extend our deepest sympathies to Lothringer and his family. And thank you Lothringer and Boerlin for your service.