August 11, 2010

New Law Protects Funeral Homes to Ensure Unclaimed Remains of Veterans are Interred with Dignity

The Missouri Veterans Commission is encouraging Missouri's funeral homes to take advantage of a new law protecting funeral homes in interring the unclaimed remains of veterans. House Bill 111, signed into law last year by Governor Jay Nixon, provides immunity to funeral homes from any suit for negligence related to the handling or interment of unclaimed veterans remains if they follow prescribed statutory steps. Once the steps have been completed, the funeral home can turn the remains over to a veterans service organization for burial in a veterans cemetery. The statute is RSMO 194.360.
Under this law in 2010, the remains of a World War I veteran from St. Louis, unclaimed since his death in 1928, were laid to rest in May and 16 veterans and two veteran's spouses from Kansas City, unclaimed after their deaths between 1964 and 2008 were laid to rest in June.
"Our veterans of the United States military are true heroes who have committed their lives to serving the country they love and the American people," Gov. Jay Nixon said.  "I was proud to sign HB 111 last year, as it ensures the remains of every Missouri veteran will be treated with the utmost respect and given a final resting place worthy of his or her great sacrifice.  I hope all our funeral homes will honor the memories of our veterans through their participation.”
Rich Carroll, location manager for McGilley & Sheil Funeral Services in Kansas City said, "I would hope that every funeral home would find the time to research and locate these forgotten heroes. No matter the circumstance that befell them and relegated them to obscurity, it no longer has to be that way.”
Funeral homes that do not have the manpower to research the names of their unclaimed remains for veteran status can request the assistance of the Missing in America Project (MIAP).  MIAP is a national organization that locates and identifies the unclaimed cremated remains of veterans.
"We owe our veterans dignity, respect, and honor both in life and in death," said Larry Kay, Executive Director of the Missouri Veterans Commission, "I encourage all funeral homes who think they might have the remains of unclaimed veterans to contact their local veterans service organizations, the Missing in America Project, or the Missouri Veterans Commission to start the process of ensuring our heroes are not forgotten."
For more information on the Missing in America Project go to, or contact Linda Smith, National Operations Coordinator at or (573) 528-6930.
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 at



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