‘These men will not be forgotten’

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Berry Funeral Home, specifically the original Berry’s on Chapman Highway, is again organizing burial for eight veterans whose military service is confirmed but whose bodies went “unclaimed” by family or friends.

Jeff Berry

You can read about the program here, in a story we published in 2019. Jeff Berry, grandson of Fred O. Berry Sr., coordinates the local Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program. Jeff is funeral director at the Berry Funeral Home on Chapman Highway.

“Since these men had no family in life, there will be brothers in arms to see them to their final resting place,” he said in the earlier story. “These men will not be forgotten.” This story includes photos of the 2019 ceremony.

The veterans service will be held Thursday, May 9, 2024, at noon at East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery, 2200 E Governor John Sevier Hwy, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Dignity Memorial Homeless/Unclaimed Veteran Burial Program, East Tennessee Regional Forensic Center and East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery invite all veterans and individuals who wish to attend the memorial service to East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery, 2200 E. Governor John Sevier Hwy, Knoxville.

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and Chaplain Dr. Pat Polis, Vietnam Veterans of America, will officiate. Military Honors by US Navy, US Army, East Tennessee Veterans Honor Guard, Volunteer State Honor Guard and Pigeon Forge Honor Guard. Motorcycle escort by the Knox County Sherriff’s Office and numerous East Tennessee Bike Chapters.

Those who wish to attend may either meet at the East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery, 2200 East John Sevier Highway, at 11 a.m. or to participate in the motorcycle escort to the cemetery meet at Berry Funeral Home, 3704 Chapman Highway, Knoxville, at 10:45 a.m.

Based on information on the Berry Funeral Home website, these are the veterans to be interred:

William Vipperman Hernandez, age 84, of Crossville, Tennessee, passed away on Wednesday, August 2, 2023. William was born in Gastonia, North Carolina, February 2, 1939. He served in the US Navy from 1962-1966 and held the rank of DT1.

Michael David Sharpe Jr., age 52, passed away on Thursday, September 7, 2023. Pv2 Michael served in the US Army from 1989-1992. He was the recipient of the Army Service Ribbon, Expert Qualification Badge with Hand Grenade Bar, Marksman Qualification Badge with M16 Rifle Bar.

Richard Preston Remine, age 75, passed away on Thursday, January 12, 2023. Richard served as an Airman in the US Air Force from 1967-1968.

Ray Harrison Cate, age 67, passed away on Wednesday, November 29, 2023. Ray served in the US Navy from 1973-1974.

James Leonard Murrell, age 65, passed away on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. GMGSA James Leonard Murrell served in the US Navy aboard the USS Lawrence DDG-4 during his service from 1976-1981.

Michael Anthony Scales, age 62, passed away on Thursday, June 29, 2023. Airman Basic Scales served in the US Air Force in 1980.

Billy Walter Sharbono, age 76, passed away on Friday, January 12, 2024. Sergeant Sharbono served in the US Air Force from 1972-1978. He was originally from Tacoma, Washington.

John Paul Butler Jr., age 80, passed away on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. Sergeant Butler served in the US Marine Corps from 1959-1968. He was the recipient of the Good Conduct Medal with 1-star, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with 1 star, Vietnam Campaign Medal with device.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today Inc.


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