Bringing Joe home

Sandra ClarkLoudon, Obits

An East Tennessee man who was killed in combat 78 years ago is being honored and interred tomorrow (6/17/23) at 3 p.m. at Grandview Pavilion in Blount County. Smith Funeral & Cremation Service is handling arrangements.

When the obituary is an awesome story, print the obituary – which we have done with minor edits.

Corporal Joe Allen Vinyard, 23 of Loudon County, Tennessee, was killed in action in World War II in Gey, Germany, on December 11, 1944, earning the Purple Heart for his injuries.

Joe was born on June 21, 1921, and enlisted in the Army in 1942, at age 21. He was sent to Germany, in the village of Strass and Gey, Hurtgen Forest, Germany, with the A/744 tank battalion. His tank was struck and disabled by an 88 mm round forcing the crew to evacuate.

Four of the crewmen made it out of the tank but Joe did not. He was listed as MIA on December 11, 1944. On April 18, 1946, Joe was declared deceased. After the war when the battlefields were being cleared, the tank was dismantled, and they found some remains and a small piece of a uniform.

With the latest DNA technology, the Army was able to obtain the DNA of Joe’s last living sister, Johnnie Cannon, and match it to the DNA they were able to obtain from Joe’s remains. Joe’s immediate family have all passed away: his parents, Joe Henry Vinyard and Fannie Mae Atkins Vinyard; sisters Pearl Goodson, Edith Goodson, Alice McKee, Ruth McKee, Ernestine Usery, Johnnie Cannon. He is survived by several nieces and nephews and cousins.

As the obituary concludes: Family and friends are welcome to attend as we celebrate finally being able to bring Joe home.

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