Abeyta's body was returned to Midlothian Thursday for a procession of last respects.
The sergeant's fellow guardsmen say he was a soldier others could rally behind.
" He joined the Guard, rose through the ranks, was a leader of those around him," said Cmdr. Michael Haerr of the 33rd brigade, Ill. National Guard. "Just a tremendous individual, willing to go the extra mile for his friends and his country."
Abeyta died during his second tour of duty in the Middle East. Previously, he had served a tour in Iraq.