Preaching at Brandon Scott Tobler's April 3 funeral service, Terry Allen Moe remembered baptizing the 19-year-old in July 1983. Tobler, an Army Reserve supply specialist who signed up to earn money for college, died in a motor vehicle crash in a sandstorm in Iraq March 22.
In Tobler's last e-mail to his family, published in The Oregonian March 28, he spoke of discovering his purpose in life: "Not to make money or be powerful and wealthy but to simply make a difference."
"It's been very difficult," said Moe, pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Portland, Ore. "His family was here on Sunday for services. People are taking food over, praying and visiting. Our congregation is wrapping its arms around them." Tobler was confirmed at St. Mark Lutheran Church, Portland.
About 500 people, including Portland's mayor and Oregon's governor, attended the funeral. Tobler was buried with military honors next to his grandfather at Willamette National Cemetery. Survivors include his parents Leon and Gail Tobler and grandparents Evan Tobler and Carolyn Tom.
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