Berry Funeral Home to Conduct Memorial Service for Seven Veterans and One Spouse with Burial at East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery Tuesday, Feb. 5
More than 60,000 homeless veterans in the U.S., many whose remains are unclaimed at their death, risk burial without military honors. Through the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program, seven Knoxville veterans and one spouse of a veteran to be honored won’t be among them.
The Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program, East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery, Sevier County Medical Examiner’s Office and the East Tennessee Regional Forensic Center have all partnered to provide a public memorial service with full military honors at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery located at 2200 E. Governor John Sevier Hwy. in Knoxville. The military honors will be presented by the Honor Guard. Community members are encouraged to participate in the procession along with local veteran riders and veteran organizations starting at 9:30 a.m. at Berry Funeral Home, located at 3704 Chapman Highway.
Obituaries for the eight veterans to be honored are available below and HERE.
- Sgt. Frank Harmon Wilson, US Army Sergeant Frank Harmon Wilson, born August 22, 1941 enlisted in the United States Army in November 1969 and served thirteen years and five months with Company B, 2/34th Infantry Battalion FORSCOM FC. Frank entered service from New Orleans, Louisiana. He was a Vietnam veteran and was a recipient of the Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeral 2, Good Conduct Medal (4th Award), Third Class (Hand Grenade), National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm (Unit) Combat Infantryman Badge, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Bronze Star Medal and Overseas Service Bars with Numeral 2. Mr. Wilson died August 3, 2018 with no one to claim him.
- Sp5 Charles Joseph Burnett, US Army Specialist 5th Class (T) Charles Joseph Burnett, born November 20, 1946 in Detroit, Michigan was inducted in the United States Army on April 25, 1968 and served with the 55th Aviation Company, Eighth Army. He was honorably discharged December 27, 1969. He was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Armed Forced Expeditionary Medal and M14 Marksman.Sp5 Burnett died October 16, 2018 with no one to claim him. His wife, Angela Marie Burnett born February 12, 1946 and died May 15, 2017 will be interred with him.
- Sp4 (T) James David Ellis, US Army Specialist 4th Class James David Ellis, born July 28, 1943 in Knoxville, Tennessee died July 23, 2018 with no one to claim him. He served in the United States Army from March 16, 1967 to October 26, 1968 with Battery C 6/37 Arty 2nd Infantry Division. He served over one year on foreign soil with the US Army Pacific Command.
- Sp4 Ronnie Joe Lundy, US Army Specialist 4th Class Ronnie Joe Lundy was born February 4, 1955 in Knoxville, Tennessee and raised in the Gibbs Community. He attended Gibbs High School and enlisted in the United States Army February 26, 1973 from his home in Knoxville. He served for three years and was honorably discharged on February 25, 1976 in Oakland, California. He was with Company A, United States Army Support Command, Hawaii, United States Army Forces Command. He was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal and was a Motor Transportation Operator in Hawaii.
- Sp4 Stephen Sebastian Cunningham, US Army Specialist 4th Class Stephen Sebastian Cunningham born January 25, 1950 in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania and entered the United States Army September 24, 1970 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He served in the Army for three years and was discharged September 17, 1973 at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Expert Grenade and Sharpshooter M16. Stephen died December 27, 2018 with no one to claim him.
- PFC James Michael Farrar, US Army Private First Class James Michael Farrar, born August 1, 1947 in Gary, Indiana died October 2, 2018 with no one to claim him Pfc. Farrar served in the United States Army with the 523rd Engr. Co. USARPAC from November 15, 1966 to November 3, 1968. He was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.
- SA Robert Lee Baker, US Navy Seaman Apprentice Robert Lee Baker, Jr. born March 23, 1948 in Barbourville, Kentucky entered the United States Navy on March 23, 1965 in Knoxville, Tennessee and was discharged at the Naval Station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 9, 1966. During his eleven months in the Navy he was assigned to the USS Springfield (CLG-7).
These veterans passed away with no legal next-of-kin to make their funeral arrangements. That’s when Berry Funeral Home, an honored Dignity Memorial® provider, stepped in to see to it that these veterans receive a burial befitting of our nation’s armed services.
“The Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program is a cooperative effort designed to ensure that veterans who are homeless, indigent and have no family receive the honors in death that their service in life merited,” said Jeff Berry, general manager at Berry Funeral Home. “We’re honored to be able to give these veterans the dignified military service they deserve. We invite the community to attend the service to honor a man that dedicated part of his life to the service of his country.”
Working with various local agencies, the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program ensures homeless veterans receive dignified military burials when they die. Founded in 2000, the program operates in select cities across the country and has conducted more than 1,600 services for homeless veterans since its inception.
The Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program is one of many efforts of the Dignity Memorial network to honor and support our nation’s veterans and active military. Other initiatives and programs include the Veterans Planning Guide, educational veterans’ seminars and special pricing for members of veterans’ service organizations.