msnbc.com news services
updated 6/2/2011 9:17:37 AM ET 2011-06-02T13:17:37

A Korean War veteran died on Memorial Day while trying to replace a weathered American flag on his 20-foot TV tower.

“I guess he climbed it a couple of times a year to change that (flag),” the man's wife, Betty Walters, told The Repository newspaper. “I guess the neighbor gave him the flag. The new flag was in the garage.”

Rick Walters of the Stark County Coroner's office said an autopsy has found that 83-year-old James Catron died of natural causes on Monday outside his home in Richville. The Repository reports Catron had a history of heart trouble.

A neighbor saw Catron slumped over atop the tower and called 911. Catron's body was brought down by fire department paramedics.

Perry Township Fire Chief Larry Sedlock told The Repository that firefighters with a ladder truck returned later on Memorial Day to replace the flag.

“It was Memorial Day, and he was trying to be patriotic. It was the only thing we could do to help out,” Deputy Fire Chief Larry Sedlock told the paper.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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