3 May 2018, 8:06am

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The Walworthians: John K. Reed

The Walworthians


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin


John K. Reed, Veteran

November 05, 1997


Talk about a coincidence and fact being stranger than fiction! Here’s a true mystery about a veteran’s missing memorial marker.

When Arlene Youngman’s older brother, John K. Reed died in September of 1978, his daughters, Donna Johnville and Gail Shepter, both of  Webster, wanted to have a Veteran Administration’s marker put on their father’s grave. He had been a Sargeant in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II.

They ordered the brass plaque, but it didn’t arrive in time for the funeral which was handled by Murphy’s Funeral Home, Ontario with burial in the Walworth Cemetery.

As a matter of fact, it didn’t arrive at all.

They tried to contact the VA and trace down the plaque, but, to no avail. In military parlance, that’s called SNAFU (Situation Normal: All Fouled Up).

In June, 1996, Bill Youngman and his long-time friend, Bill Suwijn, were working in the Walworth Cemetery. They are both on the Cemetery Committee and periodically work on the grounds.

“Were is John’s VA plaque?”  Bill Suwijn asked, noticing there wasn’t one on John’s grave.

Bill said, “It was ordered, but never came.”

It reminded Bill that when he and his wife, Arlene, were in Clifton Springs for a funeral, they’d seen a plaque with the name John K. Reed. Maybe it was Arlene’s brother?

Bill and Arlene Youngman contacted Patrick’s Funeral Home. The funeral director explained that He’d been visiting a monument maker in Warsaw and took this one as a sample, so, people could see what they look like.

The plaque is just sent and there is no way to trace it back if it is sent to the wrong place.

It is a standard VA brass plaque with the veteran’s name, rank, branch of service, date of birth and the date of death on it.

This one read: John K. Reed, Sargeant, United States Army, July 3, 1921 – September 12, 1978. With verifying documentation, they confirmed that it was, indeed, Arlene’s brother’s plaque.

Finally, after 18 years, John K. Reed’s grave in the Walworth Cemetery on Sherbourne Road is commemorated with a brass Veteran’s Administration memorial plaque.

Now, everyone can rest in peace.



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