Family of Vietnam War veteran didn’t know he had died

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American flags are placed at a fountain in honor of fallen service members during a ceremony at the Tidewater Veterans Memorial in Virginia Beach for Veterans Day. The City of Virginia Beach has been hosting the Veterans Day parade and ceremonies since 1970. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Betsy Knapper/Released)

ELGIN, Ill. (AP) — A Vietnam War veteran buried at an Illinois national cemetery without family was estranged from his relatives who were unaware that he had died months ago, a cousin said.

Irene Donovan said she heard a radio report about Stephen Myerson’s funeral. He had died in September at an Elgin health care center, but a funeral with military honors wasn’t held until Tuesday when Laird Funeral Home donated its services.

The funeral, which was attended by other veterans, was covered by the Daily Herald. The Associated Press picked up the story Tuesday and distributed it to other news media.

Donovan said she and family members had been searching for Myerson for years. She said he had two children, including a son who was deceased.

“He was kind of a traveler, didn’t want to stick in one place for too long. … I searched everything I could on the internet. I even had a friend who is a former police chief try to help,” Donovan told the Daily Herald.

Myerson’s mother lives in a nursing home in Lake Geneva and doesn’t know about her son’s death, Donovan said. Myerson’s brothers will handle the news.

“This is going to hit her hard,” Donovan said.

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