KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Korean War and Vietnam War veteran has been laid to rest after struggling with stage four pancreatic cancer.

William Croom became a staple in the Knoxville community after his time in the army. He owned a car shop and was a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He also became a mentor to many, including a football coach, and has held other roles allowing him to get to know those in the area well.

“Everybody loved him and we loved him. He was father to many others and heaven has gained another angel,” said Delisha Croom, his daughter.

Croom leaned on his faith when battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Before he passed, his family also came together for an early Thanksgiving in September to show how grateful they are for him.

“He was just one of those stand-up guys that everyone knew,” said Kukhautusha Croom. “He was like the mayor of East Knoxville. He will be sorely missed; the laughter, the love, the comfort. He was a blessing.”

After he died, he was given a send-off from a local honor guard group. WATE has also partnered with Operation Honor Guard to help make sure our country’s heroes, like Croom, can get the final sendoff they deserve.