UPDATE: It was a final farewell, three years later, for an American hero.
Petty Officer Third Class Warren Edward “Eddie” McClees died in 2015. For three years, he was buried alongside other unclaimed remains in Lansing. But as officials with Sparrow Hospital announced plans for a funeral with full military honors for McClees, his family was found just in time.
For Lucie McClees, the sister-in-law of Eddie McClees, it’s been an emotional past few days, after finding out that a loved one had died three years ago.
“When I saw the article that was sent to me, I was overwhelmed with emotions,” she said. “I was scared, I cried, I was overwhelmed.”
But that shock quickly turned to gratitude. On Monday, a family friend saw McClees’ as it aired on 6 News. as sparrow hospital announced arrangements for a military service at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta.
“The media helped find us and bring us here today to honor Eddie,” Lucie said.
Luke Vogelsberg, Chief Investigator in Sparrow Hospital’s Pathology Department, spearheaded the effort to find McClees’ family. Vogelsberg described the feeling Wednesday as incredible.
“Petty Officer McClees has done more for this country than i ever will,” he said. “And I’m in a position where I can help make some of these things happen, and absolutely should do so.”
And with about 50 people in attendance, an American hero was laid to rest, and is forever honored among thousands of others who served our country.
“He was funny. he liked to joke around,” Lucie McClees said. “My husband Jim and he would get into little tiffs about different sports and things like that.”
“He was just kind. Kind-hearted and liked to have fun,” Keith Claus, Eddie McClees’ uncle said.
See the heartwarming story on WLNS Tonight at 6:00PM
UPDATE: A long line of cars are lined up at Fort Custer National Cemetery near Battle Creek for the funeral of Petty Officer Third Class Warren McClees. The veteran died three years ago, but nobody claimed his remains and Sparrow Hospital searched for a surviving family member. A niece was located after 6 News told McCless’s story. 6 News reporter Aaron Jordan is at the funeral and will update this story today.
ORIGINAL STORY – Family members of Petty Officer Third Class Warren McClees will be in attendance at his funeral with honors this morning.
We told you about this story first on 6 News earlier this week.
McClees died three years ago, but nobody claimed his remains.
Sparrow Hospital wanted to make sure McClees received the same send off as the thousands of others who dedicated their lives to our country so they set up today’s funeral.
After watching our story on Monday a family friend put the hospital in touch with McClees’ niece.
The niece and other family members will attend today’s service.
The ceremony is at 10 a.m. at Fort Custer National Cemetery near Battle Creek and is open to the public.