World War II Veteran Remembered, Honored

Thursday, April 22nd 2021, 4:43 pm
By: Matt Rahn

TULSA, Oklahoma -

Family, friends, and even strangers celebrated the life of a World War II Veteran Thursday.

The family says Richard Gowens was a humble and kind man. They say it means a lot that so many people came out to honor his life.

Several people gathered at St. Thomas More Catholic Church to remember the 97-year-old veteran.

Gowens served in the Navy as a Radio Operator during World War II.

Like many his age, he outlived most of his veteran friends who would have normally attended the funeral, but that doesn't mean he was alone. 

"If you get a chance to respect a World War II veteran you got to take it, and that's what we're here for," said Tom Wintle.

Wintle is with the Patriot Guard Riders, a group of mostly veterans that visits as many veteran funerals as they can to support the family and respect the heroes who fought for our country.

"Most of us are veterans and we understand the whole camaraderie thing where if we don't do it, who will," said Wintle.

As the funeral ended, the Guard Riders were there in a line of respect to usher Gowens and make sure someone was with him every step of the way.

"I know it would mean a lot to my dad to know that all these people came out to support him," said Paloma Pena.

Gowens' daughter says it means a lot to her that this group would show up to honor someone they don't even know. She said even though her dad lived a long life, it's still hard to see him go.

"It's hard to know that there's no more hugs and no more talks, but I know he's still with us," Pena said.

After the funeral, the Riders escorted Gowens to the cemetery where they presented a plaque and a letter on invocation, just like they do for every fallen veteran.

The Patriot Guard Riders say they're always looking for more volunteers. They say you don't even have to be a veteran to help out