Thirteen Navy and Air Force veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War were honored Thursday at the Roseburg National Cemetery Annex. It was the last of three days of services for 28 veterans whose remains were forgotten on a shelf for decades at a local mortuary.
The remains were rediscovered through the research of Douglas County Veterans Forum member Carol Hunt and retired Roseburg National Cemetery technician Gigi Grimes Shannon. It’s one of the largest groups of unclaimed veterans remains ever to have been recovered in the state.
Their efforts concluded with all the veterans receiving memorials with full military honors. It also wound up reuniting the remains of three of the veterans with their loved ones. One of those veterans, Ulysses Brown, turned out to have been a member of the Karuk Tribe of Northern California. Following the ceremony, Patriot Guard Riders planned to transport Brown’s ashes and a folded flag to California so he could be restored to his tribe. Brown’s sister had searched for him for decades but sadly died a few years before his ashes were rediscovered. A member of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, Ryan Bouchard, accepted Brown’s flag on behalf of the Karuk Tribe at Thursday’s ceremony.
Also attending Thursday’s ceremony were Nancy Gile, the daughter of veteran Robert “Red” Young, who served in the years between World War II and the Korean War and died of a heart attack in 1982. Gile’s sister Vonnie Davis, brother David Young, and other relatives also attended.
Gile told The News-Review last month the funeral director at Chapel of the Firs promised her mother he would spread her father’s ashes. Gile was horrified to learn that his remains had instead sat on a shelf for four decades before being rediscovered.
On Thursday, Gile accepted a folded flag for her father.
“It was amazing,” she said of the service afterward. “It helps give us closure again. It was beautiful.”
The family plans to scatter Young’s ashes at a meadow near Lemolo Lake, where he had fond memories of hunting with his father.
Navy veteran Robert Young’s life was abruptly cut short in 1982 when, at the age of 52, he d…
Accepting the flag for 11 veterans Thursday was Douglas County Veterans Service Office Director Mary Newman-Keyes, who was named official next-of-kin for all whose families could not be identified. Newman-Keyes delivered the obituary for all the veterans, mostly pieced together from old obituaries.
In 1975, two World War I veterans, James Miller and Adam Heussner, died in Douglas County. B…
John Allread served in the Navy from April 1942 to February 1944 during World War II. He was born Feb. 18, 1923 in Montana and in March 1963 married LaVerne Baker. He moved to Roseburg in 1975 and then to Sutherlin. He was a member of the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans and the VFW in Roseburg. He died May 15, 1985, at age 62.
James Eades served in the Navy during World War II. There was no obituary they could find, Newman-Keyes said.
“I’m really sad about that. We just looked hard and couldn’t find anything,” she said.
Raymond Lomas served in the Navy from June 1943 to June 1945, during World War II. He was born Dec. 13, 1913 in Massachusetts. In 1943 he married Ellen Beasley in Arizona. He lived in Coos Bay, then moved to Roseburg. He was a member of the Catholic Church. He died Oct. 21, 1984, at age 70.
Robert Pendergast served in the Navy from May 1943 to January 1946, during World War II. He was born Dec. 7, 1925 in Oklahoma. He moved from California to Douglas County and was a member of the Catholic Church and was a retired plasterer. He died July 24, 1978, at age 52. Survivors included a son Robert and a daughter Mary Lynn.
Lawrence Peterson served in the Navy from August 1943 to April 1946, during World War II. He was born Aug. 19, 1917 and married Maxine in August 1940 in Illinois. He died Dec. 25, 1982, at age 65.
George Teply served in the Navy from September 1942 to February 1946, during World War II. He was born March 11, 1911 in New York City. He retired in 1963 from Pacific Power and Light and was a storekeeper and accountant. He died Feb. 10, 1979, at age 67.
Louis Weigert served in the Navy from December 1943 to March 1945, during World War II. He was born June 28, 1912 and lived in Canyonville. He died May 7, 1987, at age 64.
Albert Withers served in the Navy from August 1942 to November 1945, during World War II. He was born June 12, 1908 in Wisconsin. He died July 21, 1987, at age 80.
Robert Young served in the Navy from 1947 to 1949 in between World War II and the Korean War. Young was born Oct 5, 1929 in Klamath Falls. He and his wife Ruth lived in Oakland where they were members of the Oakland Church of Christ. He died July 4, 1982, at age 52.
Ulysses Brown served in the Air Force from May 1948 to July 1952 during the Korean War. He was born Nov. 25, 1928 in California, and was a member of the Karuk Tribe.
“We contacted them and they told us his sister had been looking for him for years. Unfortunately, she died four years ago. Other family members have requested that he be returned to the family to be buried in the tribal cemetery,” Newman-Keyes said. Brown died Nov. 15, 2000, at age 72.
Joseph Jacobs served in the Air Force from November 1954 to November 1955, during the Korean War. He was born March 12, 1929. He died Oct. 27, 1994, at age 65.
Leonard Rhodes served in the Air Force from June 1950 to June 1954, during the Korean War. He was born on April 25, 1926 in Idaho and married his wife Evelyn in February 1978 in Vancouver. He died Aug. 17, 1997, at age 71.
Charles Johnson served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. He was born June 12, 1946 and died Sept. 9, 1999, at age 53.
As she had for all three services, Newman-Keyes spoke about a dream her friend Kim Jasper had in which many veterans were standing around laughing and having a good time in a “waiting” room across from the Veterans Service Office. Newman-Keyes was stunned, since this was the room where a committee was planning to place the veterans’ remains for storage until the memorial service had been held, but her friend at that time knew nothing about the project.
Jasper, an Air Force veteran herself, attended Thursday’s memorial. She said afterward she doesn’t know whether her dream was a premonition, but it’s nice to think that it was and that the veterans are now at peace.
Hunt said at the end of the final service she felt a great sense of relief about the conclusion to the project she started.
“It’s been a very emotional ride this week,” Hunt said. She said she’s pretty tough, but found herself choked up several times this week.
“I’m happy that we’ve got Mr. Brown going back to his tribe. That’s the third family that we’ve connected and we’re looking for more to come, and we’ll be ready,” she said.
The cremated remains of four World War I veterans were transported in a horse-drawn carriage…