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Postal Worker Louis Vignone's Friend Of Nearly 50 Years Remembers His Kindness And Compassion

GREEN TREE, Pa. (KDKA) - One day after a beloved postal carrier was gunned down on his route, his loved ones and the community he served still can't believe he's gone.

Louis Vignone worked out of the Green Tree post office for decades. The flag out front is flying at half-staff in honor of him while friends and family are still trying to cope with his senseless death.

"Most caring, most giving person that anyone would want to call friend," said Paul Stemplewski.

It takes everything Stemplewski has to not cry when he talks about Vignone. Paul and Louis have been best friends for almost 50 years. They were high school classmates, band members -- both playing the saxophone -- and were even in each other's weddings. Stemplewski says Vignone was more like family, talking several times a week.

Louis Vignone Paul Stemplewski
(Photo: KDKA)

But yesterday, that lifelong brotherhood came to a tragic end.

"I got a phone call from Louis' youngest son and he told me, he told me he had bad news and that his father had passed," said Stemplewski.

The news of Vignone's murder sent shock waves through the community. The beloved postal carrier, husband and father of three was gunned down on his daily route in Collier Township. The alleged shooter, Eric Kortz, turned himself in to police, confessing he shot Vignone because he thought he had poisoned his family when they were neighbors years ago.

"I spoke to him Wednesday night. He was happy in his new house. We were planning a boy's weekend with a couple other friends," said Stemplewski.

Stemplewski can't say enough wonderful things about his best friend. He describes Vignone as the funniest, kindest, most giving soul he ever knew.

"The world was better with him," he said.

He says his memories are vast and Vignone will forever be in his heart, but if he could only go back in time, he would tell his friend one last thing.

"The regret that I have...we always told each other that I love you. For some reason we didn't say that Wednesday. I'll never get the chance to tell him again," he said.

Eric Kortz is in federal custody. A detention hearing is set for Tuesday.

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