Unclaimed Veteran's Service

June 23, 2023

Service Details

Please join us as we lay to rest 12 veterans and two spouses with honors at Iowa Veterans Cemetery.

From being left in storage units, found in abandoned houses, left at the funeral home, or simply having no family - we will step in and be their family.

Locke Funeral Services will be escorting an Army Veteran from Waterloo to Des Moines, Friday morning. The procession will leave at 8 am sharp from Locke at Tower Park, Waterloo. They will then join the service held at 11:30 AM at Hamilton's Southtown, 5400 SW 9th.

Combat Veteran's Motorcycle Association will be escorting Army Veteran, Ronald Willette, from Thomas Funeral Home in Corydon, IA Friday morning at 9:00 AM.

Following the memorial service a procession will leave at 1 PM.

The route will go south on SW 9th, right on Army Post Road, Right on Hwy 28, left on Veteran's Parkway, right on Grand Prairie Parkway, left on 360th, right on 293 and through Van Meter.

Honors will begin at 2 PM at Iowa Veteran's Cemetery.

The following will be honored:

Donald Allen, who also went by “Duck” was born in Des Moines, Iowa on September 7, 1939, to Alonzo and Louise (Law) Allen. He was married to Ruth Allen, who preceded him in death in 2000. He served in the United States Army from 1961-1965 where he was stationed in Fort Lewis, Washington. He was a marksman and had the rank of PFC E3., Unit- B Battery 2nd Howitzer Battalion, 121st Artillery Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division. He loved fishing, music, and cooking. He lived in Des Moines his entire life, while working as a janitor with Mercy Medical Center. He died on February 11, 2002 at Iowa Methodist Center at the age of 62 from complications of diabetes.

Joseph Lee Brown was born on October 23, 1936, in Des Moines, Iowa to Estella (Richie) and Robert Brown Sr. He was never married. He worked for Eagle Iron Workers. Joseph served in the United States Army from 1953-1957. He served overseas for 9 months in Korea, and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal. He passed away at the age of 67 after a short battle with cancer. His urn was found in a storage unit that had gone unpaid and as the contents were being discarded – the urn was found. The storage unit owner brought it to the funeral home, ironically as the patriot guard was standing outside honoring another veteran.

James Burns was born on August 20, 1943, to John Ralph Burns and Helen Lidezey in Phoenix, Arizona. Jim served his country in the United States Army for over 3 years from 1965 - 1968. Jim was married and divorced, and had no children. Jim drove a semi truck for much of his life, and that is how he met the Tomlinson family. Jim died on May 14, 2010, at the age of 66 in Des Moines, Iowa. Jim's urn had been left at the lawyer's office who had handled his final affairs. When the Tomlinson family asked what they should do with it - "Dispose of the urn in the trash" was the answer they received.
That wasn't acceptable!
Now he will be laid to rest next to his bothers and sisters.

Thomas George Erpelding was born on January 15,1950 to William and Norine Erpelding in Dubuque, Iowa - where he grew up on a farm outside of town. He graduated from Dubuque High School in 1969, where he was on the football team. He entered the United States Army in 1970 and was stationed in Fort Dix, New Jersey. He was with the 182nd Light Equipment Maintenance Company as a Chemical Equipment Repairman and served overseas for over a year. Thomas married Dixie Carnicle, but later divorced in 2007. He died on July 3, 2021, in Waterloo, Iowa at the age of 71 after a battle with dementia.

Barry Lyn Huggins was born on January 18, 1951, in Iowa to Willard and Sarah (Bowers) Huggins. He attended Henderson High School in Texas, and then entered the United States Air Force in April of 1972. He served a total of three years until he was medically retired as a Sergeant. Barry died at the age of 70 on November 29, 2021. Danny Wallace discovered Barry's urn in a house that had been abandoned after his wife passed away. Danny knew it was important to have Barry receive a proper burial, as his military retirement paperwork and flag were found next to the urn.

Karen Louise was born on December 11, 1944, in Keokuk, Iowa to Margaret Downing – her father’s name is unknown. She graduated from Keokuk High School in the 1960’s. She worked as a part time pet groomer, and was married to Barry Huggins in 1996. Karen died on April 20, 2022 in Des Moines, Iowa at Trinity Center at Luther Park at the age of 77. Once we had her husband’s urn in our care after it was found in an empty house– we knew we had to find Karen. We were able to contact their lawyer who lead us to Emmanuel Pathways – Where her urn was and now we are able to place them together once again!

Edward Dewayne Marson was born on September 4, 1955, in Iowa to Walter and Bonnie Marson. He graduated from Mason City High School around 1973, and then in 1974 entered the United States Army. Edward died on December 7, 2022, after complications with diabetes and a heart condition at the Concord Care center in Garner, Iowa at the age of 67. Ed's urn had been left at Cataldo Funeral Home in Garner until now.... he will be buried with honors.

Roger Russell May was born on January 6, 1939, in Mason City, Iowa to Howard and Jean May. He graduated from Mason City High School in 1957. In school he was part of the Science Club. He served in the United States Air Force from 1957-1961 where he attained the rank of E-4. His father was a WWII Veteran who died at the age of 58 in 1976. Roger also had a sister, Donna who preceded him in death. Roger died on January 25, 2023 at the age of 84. Roger's urn had gone unclaimed at Cataldo Funeral Home in Garner, Iowa.

Twila was born on December 3, 1934, in Alliance, Nebraska to Stanley and Madeline La Pointe. She was a homemaker. She was married to Hollister Meadows in February of 1966 and he passed away on January 6, 2016, at the age of 90. Hollister served in United States Navy during World War II. Twila died at the age of 84 on March 30, 2019. Her urn was left behind in her son’s apartment when he died. A worker found it while cleaning the unit out. Twila’s son was Randy Drake who died on November 13, 2022.

Ronald Powers was born on June 19, 1939, in Ainsworth, Iowa to George and Elizabeth Powers. He grew up with four sisters and one brother. His dad was an insurance sales man and his mom was a homemaker. He graduated in 1957 from Washington High School and his senior quote was, “You always have to live with your self, so live with a man you respect." He played basketball, was homeroom officer, and was in chorus. He served in the Army for 3 years, 2 months of that was in Kyasha, Japan. He acquired the rank of SP4, and was a clerk typist. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal. Ronald died on July 10, 2020 at the age of 81 in Perry, Iowa from Dementia. At the time of his death, no family was found and a guardian handled his arrangements.

Harvey, who went as Joe, was born in Mississippi on February 13, 1955 to George and Wyona Scarbrough. He worked at the railroads starting at ag 16 after dropping out of high school. He had a brother also named George who was killed in a car accident in Germany at the age of 30, and another brother named James.
He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1973-1976 and overseas in Vietnam alongside his brother George.
Joe was in a debilitating car accident that put him into long term care facilities including Eldora and State Center Specialty Care. He was known to always be very funny and the staff loved him. Joe was a fan of all thing’s music, radio, and television. He loved the movie “Free Willy”, and loved holding the hands of those who loved him.
Joe died after complications of COPD at the age of 68 on May 23, 2023 in State Center, Iowa.

Michael John Thill, who also went by Mike or Max, was born on September 18, 1950 in St. Paul, MN to John and Ann (Catherine) Thill. Michael served in the United States Army from July 1969 until July of 1975. He received the National Defense Service Medal and was stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado. Michael lived in many different places including St. Paul, Minnesota; Boone, Iowa; and Clive, Iowa He worked in road construction for most of his life. Michael died on May 1, 2021, in Des Moines, Iowa, at the age of 70. Michael's urn was found in a storage unit.

Walter Andrew Voss, Jr. was born August 30, 1926, in Omaha, Nebraska to Rev. Walter A. Voss, Sr. and Carroll Schell. Walter joined the United States Army in January 1944 and served in the South Pacific for 33 months. He used to say he joined just in time to push all the equipment to the bottom of the ocean. He received the Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon , the Victory Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. He was appointed to the position of Assistant City Manager for Des Moines under Leonard Howell. Walter held that position from April 1952-November of 1956. In 1967 Walter also held the position of Chairman of the West Des Moines Zoning and Planning Commission. Walter held many positions with Meredith Corporation from 1963-1972. He worked his way up the corporate ladder from Director of Traffic and Purchasing to Assistant General Manager of Meredith Corporation’s Printing Division. He was elected to the board of National Association of Manufacturing. Walter was an advisor for Kemin Industries for many years. He also served on the board of Wakonda Country Club. Walter passed away October 13, 2017 at the age of 91 in Scottsdale, Maricopa County, Arizona.

Richard Raymond Willette was born on October 20, 1951, in New London, Connecticut . Richard, who also went by "Rick" lived all over the United States including Virginia, New York, California, and then finally Iowa. He was raised by his mom and stepfather. His stepfather was a military doctor. Rick entered the Army in 1971, served over one year in foreign service and served until 1973. Rick suffered from many strokes and then on April 4, 2023, he passed away at the age of 71. Raymond passed with no family and Thomas Funeral home in Corydon handled his arrangements.