July 08, 2010

Their Service Remembered: Unclaimed Remains of 16 Veterans Interred at Higginsville State Veterans Cemetery

The unclaimed remains of sixteen Kansas City area Veterans, whose military service spanned WWI to Vietnam, and two veteran's spouses were laid to rest July 1 in an interment ceremony at the Higginsville State Veterans Cemetery, 20109 Business Hwy. 13, Higginsville, Missouri.
A result of the passage of House Bill 111, which allows the unclaimed cremated remains of a Veteran to be collected by a Veterans Service Organization for the purpose of interment, this ceremony came about through a partnership of the Missouri Veterans Commission, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and Dignity Memorial Funeral Services.
"All Veterans deserve to be treated with respect and honor for their service and sacrifice to our country," said Larry D. Kay, Executive Director of the Missouri Veterans Commission, "This ceremony brings closure and a measure of dignity and remembrance to those who protected us, yet were forgotten in death.”
The Veterans (rank, branch of service, & years of service) and spouses interred are:
Gervis J. Adney, Private, U.S. Army August 5, 1917 – August 21, 1919 Mrs. Mary Adney, spouse of Gervis Adney Jacinto Ordaz Briones, Seaman 1st Class, U.S. Navy May 17, 1943 – Nov 18, 1944 Ralph H. Cruse, Technician 5th Class, U.S. Army March 20, 1942 – October 14, 1945 Mrs. Dorothy M. Cruse, spouse of Ralph Cruse Thomas James Head, Master Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Force/U.S. Air Force July 11, 1942 – June 20, 1966 Harold P. Lederman, 2nd Lieutenant, U.S. Army August 27, 1917 – January 1919 Edward Herman Lewenight, Private, U.S. Marine Corps September 20, 1918 – February 14, 1919 / U.S. Army March 16, 1943 – August 26, 1943 William W. Miller, Private 1st Class, U.S. Army February 6, 1942 – October 23, 1943 Clifford C. Neuse, Private, U.S. Army October 26, 1942 – December 23, 1943 James W. Peer, Private 1st Class, U.S. Army June 8, 1943 – March 4, 1946 Verne Lyle Pickens, Seaman 2nd Class, U.S. Navy June 13, 1918 – September 30, 1921 Alfred F. Scholz, Lt. Colonel, U.S. Air Force August 5, 1961 – August 31, 1981 Thomas E. Singleton, Electricians Mate Petty Officer 2nd Class, U.S. Navy December 30, 1950 – October 8, 1954 Vernon E. Smith, Major, U.S. Army June 22, 1943 – August 17, 1946 Russell D. Stanford, Private 1st Class, U.S. Army May 29, 1976 – June 15, 1976 Earl W. Swesey, Corporal, U.S. Army July 21, 1944 – August 3, 1946 David R. Woodhead, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy August 1, 1966 – July 17, 1968              The Missouri Veterans Commission operates seven State Veterans Homes, six State Veterans Cemeteries, and the Veterans Services Program.  The Commission is committed to honoring and serving Missouri's Veterans whose dedication and sacrifices have preserved our nation and its freedoms.  For more information about the Missouri Veterans Commission programs, call 573-751-3779 or access the Missouri Veterans Commission webpage at


For more information, call 573-522-1421 or e-mail