St. Louis Call Newspapers

St. Louis unclaimed veterans to receive military funeral

Four veterans whose remains have been unclaimed will be laid to rest with help from the Dignity Memorial network of funeral, cremation and cemetery providers and the Missing in America Project.

The four veterans will be escorted from the Hoffmeister South County Chapel, 1515 Lemay Ferry Road, led by Brian Keller American Legion Riders, Post 347 in St. Louis to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, 2900 Sheridan Road, where full military honors will be conducted starting at 1 p.m. Oct. 25.

The four are:

• Col. Edward W. Bilhorn (1918-1973) served as an engineer in the U.S. Army Reserve Corps from 1941 until 1973 in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Col. Bilhorn was the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal as wells as the European African Middle Eastern Theatre Campaign Ribbon with five Bronze Stars.

• Cpl. Carl Axel Richard Kjellstrom (1894-1971) served in the U.S. Army from 1917 until 1919 during World War I.

• Pfc. Eugene Thiebes (1916-1986) served in the U.S. Army from 1945 until 1947 during World War II.

• Aviation Cadet William N. Watkins (1925-1984) served in the U.S. Air Force from 1943 until 1944 during World War II.

The ceremony will feature guest speaker Ed Martin, candidate for Missouri Attorney General and volunteer for the Missing in America Project for nearly five years. Military honors, including the folding and presentation of the flags, the playing of taps and a rifle volley, will be provided by Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. The niece of Eugene Thiebes will attend and receive the folded American Flag.

“The Missing in America Project has been working with Dignity Memorial providers to identify these forgotten veterans and ensure they receive the honors in death that their service in life merited,” Mark Valenta, St. Louis area director for the Dignity Memorial network, stated in a news release. “We’re honored to work with the Missing in America Project to provide the dignified military burial these veterans deserve.”

The purpose of the Missing in America Project is to locate, identify and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans through the joint efforts of private, state and federal organizations and to provide honor and respect to those who have served this country by securing a final resting place for these forgotten heroes.

The Dignity Memorial network of providers has several initiatives to honor and support our nation’s veterans and active military. The initiatives and programs include the Veterans Planning Guide, the Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall, the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program, educational veterans seminars and special pricing for members of veterans service organizations.

    St. Louis unclaimed veterans to receive military funeral

    Seven veterans and two veterans’ spouses whose remains have been in the care of Dignity Memorial providers for years, yet remained unclaimed, will be laid to rest with help from the Missing in America Project.

    “The Missing in America Project has been working with Dignity Memorial providers to identify these forgotten veterans and ensure they receive the honors in death that their service in life merited,” Mark Valenta, St. Louis market director for the Dignity Memorial network, stated in a news release. “We’re honored to work with the Missing in America Project to provide the dignified military burial these veterans deserve.”

    Services will be conducted with military honors for the following seven veterans and two spouses at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 7, at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, 2900 Sheridan Road.

    Capt. Chauncey E. Torrence (1920-1973), of Sparta, Ill., served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and the Korean War.

    1st Sgt. William J. Duggan (1911-1997) served in the U.S. Army during World War II and wife Helen M. Duggan.

    Sgt. Thomas Lower (unknown-1964) served in the U.S. Army during World War I.

    Sgt. Charles Workman Rapp (1897-1967) served in the U.S. Army during World War I and wife Leona Rapp.

    Cpl. Karl Frederick Jack (1893-1937) served in the U.S. Army during World War I.

    Pfc. Fred W. Mieger (1889-1946) served in the U.S. Army during World War I.

    Pfc. Philip Rothenberg (1901-1968) served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

    Attendees are asked to meet at Heiligtag-Lang-Fendler Funeral Home, a member of the Dignity Memorial network, 1081 Jeffco Blvd. in Arnold, by 12:15 p.m. to proceed to Jefferson Barracks. A cemetery service will be conducted for the seven veterans and two veterans’ spouses Thursday afternoon, complete with military funeral honors including the folding and presentation of the American flags, the playing of taps and a rifle volley.

    The purpose of the Missing in America Project is to locate, identify and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans through the joint efforts of private, state and federal organizations and to provide honor and respect to those who have served this country by securing a final resting place for these forgotten heroes.

      South St. Louis County News
      St. Louis unclaimed veterans to receive military funeral