More than 1,300 mourners packed the Basilica Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul for the funeral of Dr. John P. Pryor earlier today. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania trauma team leader and army reserve major was killed in Iraq on Christmas while serving as a combat surgeon.
The tear-streaked faces in the crowd included uniformed soldiers from every branch of the U.S. military as well as uniformed officers from emergency medical services throughout the region.
Dr. Pryor, 42, of Moorestown, was known for drawing painful parallels between battlefield deaths and the urban violence that finds its way to hospital emergency rooms, because in both cases the wounds are often caused by high-velocity gun shots.
Father Damian McElroy, who officiated at the Mass of Christian Burial, said in his eulogy that Dr. Pryor was a beloved son, husband, father and friend. From his earliest days as a Boy Scout, through his service as an emergency medical technician and later as an accomplished surgeon, he took to heart the proscription to help others and live selflessly, said McElroy.
"In John's mind," said McElroy, "you never waited for others to do what you could do."
Dr. Pryor is survived by his wife Carmela Calvo; daughter Danielle, and sons Francis, and John Jr.
Interment with full military honors is to take place privately this afternoon at Colestown Cemetery in Cherry Hill.