Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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With Honors, Marine Muchnick Laid to Rest

Hundreds of persons packed St. Ann’s Church in Lenox, Mass. today for the funeral of Westporter Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick, Jr., 23, one of seven U.S. Marines killed by a mortar shell during a training accident in Nevada March 18.

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Marines carry Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick Jr.‘s coffin from St. Ann Church in Lenox, Mass. today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Douglas Healey for WestportNow.com

The 90-minute service ended with those gathered singing the Marine Corps Hymn accompanied by the church organist. Westport police escorted the cortege and many mourners on foot to the nearby cemetery.

During the funeral, the 2008 Staples High School graduate was eulogized by several family members, including Muchnick’s twin 19-year-old sisters, Grace and Avery, and his maternal grandfather, Robert M. Coakley.

The sisters brought laughs and tears as they recalled growing up with their big brother who they said was always protective of them.

Coakley remembered watching his grandson grow from a highly intelligent toddler into a man whose life he said was shaped by Marine boot camp.

He said he once took Roger when he was 3 to a lake and explained that the images in the lake were trees surrounding the water. “Those are reflections, Grandpa,” the youngster replied.

Coakley said he was especially fond of a trip they took together to Jackson Hole, Wyo. where he watched Muchnick fish and ride horses. He said he will always have a lasting memory of him riding down a mountainside amid galloping horses.

Before the service, which did not include a mass since there is only one on Good Friday which will be held later, the family greeted mourners for an hour at the front of the church. Marines in dress uniform surrounded them and lined each side of the church.

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Photos of Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick were displayed at St. Ann’s Church in Lenox, Mass. today where hundreds attended his funeral.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Douglas Healey for WestportNow.com

The church arranged a closed-circuit television feed to its nearby parish house for those unable to get into the sanctuary.

A five-man Westport police detail, including two motorcycle officers, led the funeral procession from the church.

Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, whose presence was acknowledged at the service, rode in one of two Westport police cars also at the head of the procession.

“It was a very moving service,” he said. “The Muchnick family was most appreciative of all the support provided by the Westport police and the many Westporters who came here.”

Joseloff said he thought it important to have an official Westport presence because Muchnick regarded Westport as his hometown.

The Rev. Christopher J. Waitekus, St. Ann’s pastor who presided at the service, asked attendees to walk to St. Ann’s Cemetery from the church because he said a procession of cars would overwhelm the small town.

Muchnick was laid to rest in a grave next to his great uncle William Coakley, a Navy pilot killed in 1966 during the Vietnam War.

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One of the pictures displayed at St. Ann’s Church today was of Roger W. Muchnick as a young boy in camouflage. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Douglas Healey for WestportNow.com

Westport Police Officers Richard Failla and Craig Bergamo had to slow their motorcycles to a walking pace as the procession slowly made its way to the cemetery.

Westport officer Chris Proudfoot, a former Marine, called Muchnick a hero, and said he came out of respect for Muchnick.

Officer Ned Batlin, who drove one of the Westport police cars, said Lenox police, with only a 10-person department, was most appreciative of the help offered by Westport officers.

“They welcomed us warmly,” he said.

Muchnick and his siblings spent much time with their grandparents in Lenox, nestled in the heart of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. Its cultural attractions include Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Muchnick was baptized at St. Ann’s.

At the cemetery, there was a Marine gun salute, Taps, and a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace.” The family later hosted mourners at a nearby country club.

One thought on “With Honors, Marine Muchnick Laid to Rest

  1. I am so very sorry for your loss. You & your family are in my thoughts & prayers.  I would like to take this time to Thank you for your Marine’s service.  May he rest in peace. May the grace of God be with you now & forever to help you through this most difficult time.

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