PITTSBURGH – Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll (search) apologized Monday to the family of a Marine killed in Iraq for showing up uninvited for his funeral last week and giving out a business card.
Knoll went to the funeral of Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich (search) and family members said she told his aunt that "our government" was opposed to the war.
In a letter to Goodrich's widow, Amy, Knoll said she left a card in case the family wanted to contact her "and as a sign of my willingness to help the family through this difficult time in any way I can. To do anything that was deemed insensitive was completely counter to my intent."
Goodrich, 32, of Westwood, died July 10 in Iraq. His family told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last week that they felt they were owed an apology by Knoll and didn't understand why she attended the funeral in Carnegie.
"Sergeant Goodrich's service was beyond the call of duty," Knoll's letter said. "If my regard for his family's grief was seen another way, it is thoroughly regrettable. The fact that you have been offended deserves and receives my most profound apology."
Rhonda Goodrich, Joseph Goodrich's sister-in-law, said the apology was accepted although the family had also wanted Knoll to apologize to the Marine Corps (search).
Knoll said in her letter that she arrived too late to offer her personal condolences. That rankled Rhonda Goodrich, who said she believed Knoll came to get publicity.
"She didn't have time to be with Amy or Joe's parents, but she made time for the TV cameras," she said. "That's where I'm still a little bitter."
Knoll said she has attended "dozens of funerals to offer my sympathy and condolences to the families of soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice."