BLOOMINGTON — Hundreds cried and laughed Saturday as they remembered U.S. Marine Corps Major Reid “Eeyore” Nannen for his sense of humor, dedication to his family and service to his country.
Speaking at his funeral at Eastview Christian Church, Briana Nannen of Peoria remembered her younger brother as unique, charismatic, quiet, inappropriate at times, affectionate, polite and a fantastic singer.
“Reid wanted to be a pilot for as long as I can remember,” she said. “My brother was the only person I know who got his dream job.
"I was blessed to know Reid. I am a better person for having known him," she said.
Nannen, 32, of Hopedale, was killled March 1 in an F/A-18C Hornet crash on the Fallen Range Training Complex, about 70 miles east of Naval Air Station Fallon, Nev. He was permanently stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, but was on temporary duty to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Fallon as a Top Gun student.
After a slideshow that included photos of vacations, holidays, weddings and graduations through Nannen's life, several spoke of the legacy he left.
Many remembered Nannen for his pranks, fun-loving personality and unique sense of humor. The pilot was known by his peers as a leader, mentor and a friend.
“I didn't recognize the effect he had on me until recently. Eeyore inspired me to do better; he inspired all of us to do better, and he did this without trying,” said U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Bruce Gordon.
Nannen was a 2000 graduate of Olympia High School and 2004 graduate of the University of Illinois.
Kevin Kennedy, who went through the Naval ROTC program at the University of Illinois with Nannen, said “he was the guy you wanted to have at your side.”
“When something like this happens, you find yourself doing a lot of 'What if's,'” he said. “But I think if he was here, he would make fun of me for crying and having too much gel in my hair.”
Nannen leaves his wife Sarah and their four young children.
“Reid meant a lot to a lot of people, but he meant the most to his family. He was a phenomenal father and family man,” said Capt. Eli Keller, fighting back tears. He met Nannen last August, and considered him a mentor while they trained together in Australia.
A military recessional was followed by a military burial at Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield.