Family buries WWII soldier after being missing for 78 years

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A World War Two soldier missing for 78 years was finally laid to rest here in mid-Michigan today.

His niece, Carolyn Fuqua told 6 News Robert Parker’s parents died not knowing whatever happened to him.
Today he was buried right next to them. She says her family feels a sense of relief.

Family and friends of Robert Parker finally got the chance to say goodbye.

“First lieutenant Robert Parker has come home to be laid to rest, and the family will have complete closure for the first time in 78 years,” said a priest at the funeral.

Despite being considered missing for more than seven decades, Parker’s legacy in his family is unforgettable.
“Hearing stories about him. How he was a jokester and a prankster and would pick on my grandma and my aunt and uncle it’s just funny. He seems to just have a happy soul,” said Dinah Hartley, parker’s great-niece.

In November 1943 during a mission in New Guinea, Parker was flying an aircraft. In exchange of attacks with the Japanese, his plane crashed into another plane.

He was never found.

Several family members later died not knowing what happened to him including his parents.

Today his remains were buried right next to them at deep dale cemetery.

“They would love to have been here in person. We feel that they’re here in spirit and that feels wonderful. I know they would agree to put him at rest with his parents,” said Carolyn Fuqua, Parker’s niece.

For Parker’s niece, she’s happy her family is united once again.

“They’re together, their bodies are together in the ground but more importantly their spirits are together in heaven. That’s even more important,” said Fuqua.

Paul Schewemer, a professional land surveyor is committed to finding the fallen. He says his job brings smiles and closure to families like Robert Parker’s.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a month or 78 years. When they come home, this is America we want our kids back home.”

A rose will also be placed at the “Walls of the Missing” in the Philippines to show he has been accounted for.

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