Crowd turns out for seven special veterans

Jay FitzTag! You're It

Pledging “these men won’t be forgotten,” Berry Funeral Home honored seven veterans with burial with military honors today (2/5) at the East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery. Jeff Berry, funeral director, is the program coordinator, and full obituaries are posted on the funeral home’s website. Read our earlier story here.

Based on information from the website, the honorees are:

Specialist 4th Class Ronnie Joe Lundy, born Feb. 4, 1955, in Knoxville and raised in the Gibbs community. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Feb. 26, 1973, served for three years and was honorably discharged on Feb. 25, 1976, in Oakland, Calif. He passed away Jan. 18, 2019, in a house fire in Seymour.

Seaman Apprentice Robert Lee Baker Jr., born March 23, 1948, in Barbourville, Ky. He entered the U.S. Navy on March 23, 1965, in Knoxville and was discharged at the Naval Station in Philadelphia in 1966. He was assigned to the USS Springfield (CLG-7).

Specialist 5th Class (T) Charles Joseph Burnett, born Nov. 20, 1946, in Detroit. He was inducted into the U.S. Army on April 25, 1968, and served with the 55th Aviation Company, Eighth Army. He was honorably discharged Dec. 27, 1969. His wife, Angela Marie Burnett, born Feb. 12, 1946, and died May 15, 2017, will be interred with him.

Specialist 4th Class James David Ellis, born July 28, 1943, in Knoxville and died July 23, 2018, with no one to claim him. He served in the U.S. Army from March 16, 1967, to Oct. 26, 1968, with Battery C 6/37 Arty 2nd Infantry Division. He served over one year on foreign soil with the U.S. Army Pacific Command.

Specialist 4th Class Stephen Sebastian Cunningham was born Jan. 25, 1950, in Waynesburg, Pa., and entered the U.S. Army Sept. 24, 1970, in Pittsburgh. He was discharged Sept. 17, 1973, at Fort Dix, N.J. He was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Expert Grenade and Sharpshooter M16. He died Dec. 27, 2018, with no one to claim him.

Pfc. James Michael Farrar, born Aug. 1, 1947, in Gary, Ind., died Oct. 2, 2018. He served in the U.S. Army with the 523rd Engr. Co. USARPAC from Nov. 15, 1966, to Nov. 3, 1968. He was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Sgt. Frank Harmon Wilson, born Aug. 22, 1941, enlisted in the U.S. Army in November 1969 and served 13 years and five months with Company B, 2/34th Infantry Battalion FORSCOM FC. He was a recipient of numerous awards including the Bronze Star Medal. Mr. Wilson died Aug. 3, 2018, with no one to claim him.

Major General Bill C. Branson (USA retired) established the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program in St. Louis and expanded it nationwide with the support of Hoffmeister Mortuaries and Service Corporation International. More than 3,000 veterans have been buried through this program – 67 of them in Knoxville.

Note: Welcome our newest staff member, Shannon Cox, from the Gibbs community. Shannon is helping with customer service, social media outreach and photography. (Little companies have to hire multifaceted people.) Watch for her “Tag, You’re It!” feature every Monday at

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