Coroner lays to rest unclaimed remains of 4 with military honors

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 10:52 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2021 at 4:25 PM EST
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BEAUFORT, S.C. (WCSC) - Beaufort County’s coroner buried the first remains of 34 people whose families they have not been able to locate Thursday morning.

The first four, three soldiers and a Marine, were buried at the Beaufort National Cemetery at 11 a.m. with full military honors during a small ceremony.

No family or friends could be found to attend the burials of William Goldberg, Francis Lonergan, Eckeron Kelly and Lawrence Davis. Instead, members of the community paid their final respects.

“It was really a good turn out today and it was really awesome and a cross-section of all services here representing so it was really special,” Marine Corps League spokesperson Cathy Stump said. “I think even though they have no family to know, we know and we care.”

The four men have been dead for years, but no one ever came forward to claim their remains.

They were among 62 people whose cremains, or cremated remains, have been in the possession of Coroner David Ott’s office for as far back as 1982.

Ott said his staff was able to reach families for 27 of them over the years. A synagogue claimed the cremains of one woman and interred them with her husband.

The remaining 30 are being entombed at the mausoleum at the Forest Lawn Cemetery, located at 611 Robert Smalls Parkway in Beaufort at 2 p.m.

The coroner’s office recently purchased a crypt at the mausoleum to properly inter unclaimed cremains with the help of Beaufort County government, Ott said.

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