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Former Lodi resident killed while serving in Iraq laid to rest

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Posted: Monday, September 27, 2004 10:00 pm

Staff Sgt. Guy Stanley Hagy Jr., was described as "a prototype modern American war hero" during his funeral Monday morning at Cherokee Memorial Park.

Hagy, 31, is the first Lodi resident to be killed in the Iraq war. He died in Baghdad on Sept. 13 when an improvised explosive device detonated near their observation post. Sgt. Carl Thomas, 29, of Phoenix, was also killed in the blast.

Hagy, who lived in Lodi from 1996-97 before enlisting in the Army, was posthumously promoted to staff sergeant and awarded the Purple Heart. He was given full military honors.

"He voluntarily enlisted out of patriotism," Brig. Gen. Robert Cone said. "He led his soldiers by personal example."

With Hagy's flag-draped casket next to the podium, Cone told some 60 people assembled in the chapel that Hagy cared deeply about his family, the soldiers who served under him, the soldiers' families and the innocent children of Iraq.

Hagy often phoned his wife, Elysia (Lisa) Hagy, and said, "Lisa, Lisa, you've got to go to Wal-Mart or wherever and get some toys for these kids (in Iraq)," said Major Norris Burkes, a chaplain with the 162nd Air Combat Communications Group in North Highlands.

Family members, generally seated in the first two rows, were often in tears, but they appeared to keep their composure much of the time. None of them spoke at the service.

Hagy's burial Monday in Lodi culminated an emotional week for the family, who attended three services in less than a week.

On Saturday, more than 200 attended a memorial service in a tiny sanctuary at Thompson Valley Church of God in Tazewell, Va., where Hagy grew up.

The church overflowed, and people stood outside in the hot sun listening and watching through the front door, according to the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier.

Elysia Hagy and her son, Robert Fulton, are escorted from the military honors ceremonies to the committal for her late husband, Staff Sgt. Guy Stanley Hagy Jr., by Brig. Gen. Robert Cone during services at Cherokee Memorial Park on Monday. (Jennifer M. Howell/News-Sentinel)

Two days earlier, a memorial service was held at Fort Hood, Texas, where Hagy was stationed. He was a member of 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. Hagy enlisted in the Army in December 1996 and had been assigned to Fort Hood since June 2003.

Hagy was a welder when he and his wife, Elysia (Lisa) A. Powell Hagy, lived in Lodi. She was born and raised in Stockton.

Burkes related how Lisa Hagy asked her husband about what he preferred for his "final resting plans." Guy Hagy replied, "I want to be wherever you are."

Monday's funeral included stirring renditions of "The Lord's Prayer" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" sung by Lisa Hagy's aunt, Denise Grady, who lives in rural El Dorado County.

Burkes also read a selection from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament of the Bible.

The selection started, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven."

California Army National Guard, Veteran Honors Program members Staff Sgts. Steven Miller, left, and Matthew McDuff, fold the American flag that covered the casket of Staff Sgt. Guy Stanley Hagy Jr. during ceremonies Monday at Cherokee Memorial Park. (Jennifer M. Howell/News-Sentinel)

The service moved outside, where Army personnel fired three volleys in the air as all military personnel saluted, and "Taps" was played. Then two California Army National Guard, Veteran Honors Program members, Staff Sgts. Steven Miller and Matthew McDuff, folded the flag adorning Hagy's casket into a triangle as "Amazing Grace" was played by a bagpiper, Steven McKinney of the Army Reserve's 91st Division Band.

The flag, the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Combat Infantry Badge were presented to Lisa Hagy by the officer in charge of the honor guard.

In addition to his wife, Hagy is survived by a daughter, Elizabeth Hagy; a stepson, Robert Fulton; his father, Guy S. Hagy Sr., of Tazwell, Va.; and three brothers, Andrew, Chris and Joe Hagy, all from Virginia.

Burial was private.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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