KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The newly discovered remains of a Marine who died during World War II will be buried in Kansas City next to his mother.

Donald Tolson’s remains will arrive in Kansas City via plane from a South Pacific island on Friday, the Kansas City Star reported.

A military escort will accompany the remains to Mt. Moriah Cemetery, where Tolson will be buried next to his mother, Roxy Ann Tolson, who died in 1952. The family will hold a funeral Saturday with full military rights, including a Marine chaplain and bagpiper.

“None of us remember him,” said Judy Kliginsmith, Donald Tolson’s cousin, who is 16 years his junior. “He joined up right out of high school and he never came back. The ones that would remember are already gone. But we’re getting as many as we can to meet the plane. Aunt Roxy would want that.”

Donald Tolson was born in Kansas City in 1923. Military records said Tolson joined the Marine Corps just after he turned 18, but in 1943 was killed in action during a 76-hour battle on Betio Island, part of the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands.

He was posthumously given several awards, including the Purple Heart, American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medal.

Tolson’s remains were considered “non-recoverable” until an island resident discovered his dog tags last year in a trench. The remains were exhumed, and identified as Tolson’s in September.

“He’s coming home to Kansas City to be placed near his mother’s grave and I know this would provide peace for his parents,” Kliginsmith said. “This week’s service gives our family closure.”


Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

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