Funeral for Korean War POW missing 63 years set for Saturday
Army Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Gantt, whose remains were returned to his widow 63 years after he went missing during the Korean War, will be laid to rest Saturday in Inglewood.
An Army honor guard will escort Joseph’s widow, Clara Gantt, 94, into the Dwelling Place Foursquare Church around 11 a.m. for an hourlong private service, according to a news release from the USO Greater Los Angeles Area.
Mourners will then move to Inglewood Park Cemetery for a public graveside service that will feature a gun salute and full military honors. The service is scheduled to begin around 1 p.m. and last about 30 minutes.
Last week, Clara Gantt cried as her husband’s flag-draped casket arrived home on a Los Angeles International Airport tarmac.
Joseph Gantt joined the Army in 1942 and served in the South Pacific during World War II. Clara met him in 1946 and they married two years later.
They lived in Fort Lewis, Wash., until he left for the Korean War, assigned as a field medic.
In December 1950, Clara Gantt received a letter from her husband and $100 for Christmas. That month, he was taken prisoner while defending his unit’s position near Kunu-ri’, North Korea. He died in captivity in March 1951, officials later discovered.
Over the years, Clara attended dozens of meetings in Washington, D.C., meant to update the wives and family members of missing servicemen. Some 84,000 service members, including 8,000 from the Korean War, are still missing.
When Clara got a call asking if she would be in Washington for the October meeting this year, she knew what was coming. She flew there, alone, and was told her husband’s remains had been found.
“I am very, very proud of him. He was a wonderful husband, an understanding man,” she told reporters at the airport last week. “I always did love my husband, we was two of one kind, we loved each other. And that made our marriage complete.”
Veterans, particularly of the Korean War, are encouraged to attend the graveside service. Condolences and donations in support of funeral service expenses may be directed to Mrs. Clara Gantt, c/o USO Greater L.A., 203 World Way, No. 200, Los Angeles, 90045. Expressions of sympathy may also be sent via email.
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