Community pays respects to local Marine


He was hilarious and funny and would lift you up if you were having a bad day.

He loved video games, movies, pizza, SpongeBob SquarePants, writing poetry and reading.

He was an old soul and could be seen wearing a fedora while listening to Frank Sinatra, and he also liked wearing bow ties.

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He was a thinker from a young age and always expressed interesting thoughts.

He was known for his patriotism and showed that by sporting his American flag blazer with a shirt, tie and slacks.

He was a U.S. Marine.

Lance Cpl. Hunter Brown died March 17 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He was 21.

His mother, Amy Fletcher, and stepfather, Buddy Fletcher, will never forget seeing two uniformed Marines standing at the front door of their home at Burkholder Chapel of Thorne-George Family Funeral Homes in Seymour.

When their doorbell rang around 9 a.m. March 17, Buddy came downstairs, looked through the glass door and saw the Marines.

“After that was kind of a blur,” he said.

“You just know. There’s no other reason why two Marines would be standing in your foyer at 9 o’clock on a Tuesday,” Amy said. “My legs got weak, and I just sat down on the stairs and I just kept saying, ‘Nope, no, no, I’m not doing this. Nope.’ If I could have gotten my legs to work, I would have stood up and went back upstairs. You don’t want to hear it.”

Amy said it was like watching a scene from a movie when soldiers are shown sharing the bad news with a family.

“You’re just in shock,” she said. “Of course, I was crying, but I felt like for the next day, we were all just kind of staring off into space, like, ‘This can’t be true. It’s not true,’ and you can’t get it to sink in. I had talked to Hunter on Friday. We had messaged back and forth on Sunday on my phone, and on Tuesday, he’s gone.”

Amy said the cause of Hunter’s death is under investigation, and the Marines don’t have a timeline for when it will be determined.

Buddy said the family just wants closure.

“It really gets to you. You really need to move forward,” he said.

Show of support

The Fletchers planned to go to the airport in Indianapolis earlier this week to bring Hunter’s body home, a community welcome was planned and then the private funeral service was Wednesday.

On Tuesday morning, though, the family said there had been 12 flight cancellations, so they were going to use ground transportation to bring his body home. They arrived back in Seymour overnight, so the community welcome followed Wednesday’s service.

People lined the streets from the funeral home on North Chestnut Street to U.S. 50, where the procession continued west until reaching Mt. Gilead Cemetery in Bloomington. He was laid to rest with full military honors in the cemetery next to Amy’s father.

A public memorial service will be conducted at a later date due to the restrictions of no more than 10 people in a funeral home because of the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic.

Buddy said he was contacted by Jackson County Sheriff Rick Meyer and Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson about allowing the community to line the streets to celebrate Hunter’s life and providing a police escort.

“It’s just like God is taking a horrible situation and making something good come of it,” Amy said. “I think of people lining the streets, that’s kind of therapeutic for the town, too, because there’s so much negative stuff right now. Just to see everybody’s patriotism and just the community coming together as a whole and loving each other and loving us, the love that we have felt from this community, it’s out of this world.”

The Fletchers, who have lived in Seymour for two years, have received food and prayers from a lot of people.

“People have been in and out bringing food. Normally, that wouldn’t have touched me as much as it does in this situation because some people can’t even find the food they want or need in the store, and the fact that they are taking what they have and bringing it to us, it’s just amazing,” Amy said.

“So many people have contacted me and they were like, ‘I haven’t prayed in years, but I prayed for you today,’” she said. “Just little things like that, it’s like, ‘He has made a difference,’ but he might make more of a difference in more people’s lives than he ever thought he would. Everybody has just been so supportive. We just appreciate it so much.”

Drawn to serve

For as long as she can remember, Amy said Hunter was all about being in the military.

“I wanted him so bad to go straight to college,” she said. “I didn’t want him to be in the military, but he was going to do what he was going to do, and I couldn’t stop him. He just loved it. He found that brotherhood and camaraderie that he loved.”

Hunter was inspired to join since his older brother, Dakota Matthews, served in the U.S. Navy.

“He loved his brother,” Amy said. “He wanted to be just like his brother, but he chose the Marines instead. They had a good, healthy rivalry Navy vs. Marines.”

In the summer of 2016, going into his senior year at Bloomington High School South, Hunter joined the recruit pool and participated in training and workouts.

He had enough credits to graduate from high school in October 2016, and a month later, he left for boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in California.

He completed that in February 2017 and was stationed at Camp Lejeune, where he was a landing support specialist in logistics with the 2nd Transport Support Battalion.

“He dealt with helicopters,” Amy said. “They would land, and he would run in and take stuff off or put stuff back on for training missions. He just moved things from one place to another.”

He also worked in the armory checking and cleaning weapons, which Amy said was his favorite job. At one time, he also did gate security with the military police.

The only time he went overseas was spending a few months in Norway. The rest of his career was spent at Camp Lejeune or training in different states.

“In the beginning, he said he was going to be career military. He was all about it,” Amy said. “But as time had gone on, I think he missed being home.”

Hunter was set to finish his military service in November, and Amy said he wanted to go to college to become a theater teacher.

“He did theater in high school. He loved it, he was good at it and he was really close to his theater teacher,” Amy said. “She definitely encouraged him.”

During his time in the military, Hunter was able to come to Seymour for his birthday in August and Christmas. He also was able to attend funerals for his grandparents.

“He didn’t live here, but when he wanted to come home, this is where he came,” Amy said. “He loved it here. He loved this house.”

He especially loved seeing his sisters.

“He has four younger sisters. He just absolutely adored them,” Amy said. “He was excited to come home and tell them he had met Santa Claus (in Norway). When he got out of boot camp and came home for two weeks — they make money in boot camp but don’t have access to it — he took the girls to Build-A-Bear and spent all of the money on them. He was all about them. He loved to spend time with them.”

His memory lives on

Since Hunter’s death, Amy has shared stories about him on her Facebook page.

“It has been very therapeutic,” she said. “It’s kind of weird because I’m not a real public person, but I’m not real private. I’m just kind of in the middle. Something that personal and painful, I wouldn’t think would be uncomfortable sharing it, but for whatever reason, that has been what feels good. We just want it to mean something. We want it to make a difference.”

One post has pictures from a service on the beach at Camp Lejeune that Hunter’s fellow Marines put together.

“I had no idea they were doing it,” she said. “The sent me that message, and Dakota looked at me and said, ‘Mom, that’s unprecedented. The military doesn’t get together and do those kinds of things.’”

Several Marines have reached out to express their sympathy and share stories.

“I have received so many messages from the people he worked with and just people that he has met along the way,” Amy said. “I bet you 30 different Marines have reached out to me and just wanted to tell stories. … That has been the most comforting thing.”

The family will cherish those stories along with all of the other memories of Hunter.

“He was just his own person. He didn’t care what people thought, and he was all about it. He was quirky, but we loved everything about him,” Amy said. “He was just all the time joking. He always seemed, even in the worst situations, to find the silver lining or something to be happy about.”

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A public memorial service for U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Hunter Brown will be conducted at a later date.

Memorials may be made to the Emerson Elementary School All Pro Dads chapter at Burkholder Chapel of Thorne-George Family Funeral Homes, 419 N. Chestnut St., Seymour.

Memories and condolences may be shared online at


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