Nearly six years after falling out of contact, the family of a Vietnam War veteran has finally learned what became of him.
Funeral home workers and local veterans were unable to locate any relatives when they laid Stephen Myerson to rest on Tuesday.
The Marine veteran died at a nursing home in Eglin, Illinois, in September, and Laird Funeral Home donated its services, The Daily Herald reported.
“This poor guy was brought out here from Chicago and put in a nursing home down the street — no friends, no family, nobody,” said Steven Laird, who owns the business with his brother Rob.
Irene Donovan was on her way to get groceries when she heard the story reported on WBBM Newsradio. She immediately recognized Myerson’s name as the cousin she and her family had spent the past six years searching for.
Donovan called the radio station and they explained to her the details of the story before directing her to The Daily Herald for more information about Myerson.
“My cousin had a twin sister, and she passed away two years ago,” Donovan told WBBM Newsradio on Thursday. “And my aunt, who’s 92 years old, wanted to get hold of him and let him know and was very upset that she wouldn’t be able to tell him because we couldn’t find him.”
Myerson had fallen out of touch with his wife and children and stopped speaking with the rest of his family when they urged him to reach out to his kids, Donovan told The Daily Herald.
She went to great lengths to find Myerson and notify him of his sister’s death, according to The Daily Herald.
“I searched everything I could on the internet,” she said. “I even had a friend who is a former police chief try to help.”
After speaking with the outlets that had reported on Myerson’s death, Donovan notified his brothers, Ralph and John. The family hasn’t told his mother, Lorraine Armonda, yet since her nursing home isn’t allowing visitors during the pandemic, the newspaper reported.
“It’s mixed emotions,” Donovan told The Daily Herald. “I’m happy there’s some closure, but my aunt has been beside herself about him. She worries about him all the time.”
Harm Venhuizen is an editorial intern at Military Times. He is studying political science and philosophy at Calvin University, where he's also in the Army ROTC program.