Fleming Island Navy veteran, 82, dies of COVID-19

LeRoy Honsinger didn’t get the service he deserved, but family said goodbye as best they could

FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. – A Fleming Island man died Monday because of complications from COVID-19, according to his obituary. He was 82.

LeRoy Honsinger was a Navy veteran born in Troy, New York, who raised his family in Orange Park. He was laid to rest Wednesday at Jacksonville Memorial Gardens.

Honsinger’s family did not wish to speak on camera with News4Jax but shared details about him online. His family said they were unable to hold the military service he was due, but they said their farewells as best they could.

His daughter, Debbie Rizer, shared a post on Facebook showing Honsinger lying in a hospital bed with his wife by his side. The post was captioned: “This is COVID-19.”

Honsinger’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were on hand, holding up signs that were visible through the window with messages such as, “I love you papa.”

This is COVID-19! Our father and grandfather was diagnosed with COVID-19. His loving wife by his side covered and...

Posted by Debbie Rizer on Saturday, March 21, 2020

According to Honsinger’s obituary, he entered the Navy at the age of 17, served many tours, participated in a naval blockade and retired as a Petty Officer First Class.

Honsinger’s accolades include a National Defense Service Medal as well as five Good Conduct awards. His path took him to a 21-year career with CSX Transportation.

At his service Wednesday, Honsinger’s family said goodbye in a unique way.

"Although he was not able to have the military ceremony he deserved surrounded by more than immediate family, we were blessed to have a friend who saluted the family with flags as we drove by and another that played the most beautiful version of Taps I have ever heard,” Rizer wrote.

Today was an incredibly difficult day having to say goodbye to my father in such a unique way. Although he was not able...

Posted by Debbie Rizer on Wednesday, March 25, 2020

"We were not able to hug one another and I could not cry on my husbands shoulder, but we said goodbye to this great man in the best way possible,” she added.

Only Honsinger’s immediate family was able to attend his service because of guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discouraging public gatherings.

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