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Posted: December 02, 2017

Stranger's kind gesture during funeral procession goes viral

The Avenue of Flags at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan.
Fort Custer National Cemetery
The Avenue of Flags at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan.

By Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

A Michigan family is looking for a man who paid a special tribute to a passing funeral procession, WWMT reported.

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Phillip “Paw Paw” Dooley Sr. died Nov. 26 after a long battle with cancer. The Kalamazoo resident was buried Nov. 30 at Fort Custer National Cemetery.

“It’s always tough saying goodbye but to the man who was the rock in our family; it was something that I didn’t expect to do when he was 65,” Shelby Sams, Dooley’s granddaughter, told WWMT.

From Langeland Memorial Chapel in downtown Kalamazoo to the cemetery in Augusta, the 30-car procession traveled 15 miles. Some cars pulled over to let the procession pass; others sped around the line of cars, but one driver brought the grieving family to tears.

“There was a man who actually got out of his car, stood by his driver’s side door with his head bowed and his hands clasped in front of him for the entire procession,” Sams told WWMT.

She and her sister, Courtney Steffler, burst into tears.

“It was the greatest gesture of respect that I’ve ever seen,” Steffler said.

Someone snapped a photo of the man standing in front of a gold or bronze Cadillac sedan stopped in Augusta. The family posted the picture to Facebook to try to find the mystery man. In just one day, the photo has been shared nearly 4,000 times.

Sams said, “I just want to say thank you. I’d like to take him to dinner and buy him ice cream. That’s what my Paw Paw would have done.”

The song “Daddy was Never a Cadillac Kind” was played at Dooley’s funeral service. Sams said it was Dooley’s personal anthem and does not think it’s a coincidence that the stranger stopped on the road was in a Cadillac.

“My Paw Paw really would have loved to shake the hand of that man,” Steffler told WWMT. “So if we could do that in his honor he would be very happy.”

To the man that gave respect to my PawPaw as we passed by on the way to Ft. Custer I want to say thank you. This lifted...

Posted by Garrick Dooley on Thursday, November 30, 2017

News Channel 3 just did an interview with me and Shelby in hopes of finding this man to recognize his kind gesture. Even...

Posted by Courtney Steffler on Friday, December 1, 2017

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