The son of a World War II Navy radar technician whose remains were buried in a ceremony for homeless veterans wants Long Islanders to know that his father wasn't homeless and had a family who loved him.
Tom Lansner learned about his father's burial by reading a Newsday account of the ceremony, which was last Thursday at Long Island National Cemetery in Pinelawn.
The remains of Franklyn R. Lansner Sr., 94, and four other veterans were buried after a funeral presented by Missing In America Project, a national group that buries the unclaimed remains of veterans, and Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program, a cooperative effort of the Dignity Memorial funeral service providers, veterans groups and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Relatives of Air Force veteran Irving Beiser, 84, also have come forward to say he wasn't homeless.
Franklyn Lansner died of pancreatic cancer two years ago at his Westbury home, surrounded by his family, his son said.
Despite the confusion, Tom Lansner said he was pleased that his father was recognized for his military service: "I'm honored that he had a veteran's burial."
Tom Lansner said he thinks the mix-up with his father's remains may have happened because of a miscommunication between himself and the Nassau-Suffolk Crematory, a funeral home in Lake Ronkonkoma.
The crematory received the remains from Stony Brook University School of Medicine, where Franklyn Lansner had donated his body for medical research, his son said. The family had expected the school to send the body to the crematory, he said.
Tom Lansner said he called crematory employees in late March or early April and told them that he expected to claim his father’s remains in the summer when he returned to New York from an extended business trip to Europe. He said he hasn't communicated with the crematory since then.
The crematory did not respond to several requests for comment.
Stony Brook notifies the next of kin in writing that the remains are available to be picked up at the crematory and keeps sending notifications for at least four months if the family member doesn't respond, said Kali Chan, the medicine media relations director.
If the remains go unclaimed, the university makes arrangements for final disposition, Chan said in a statement.
“In this case, seeking to honor veterans who have donated their body to science, we released the unclaimed remains to the Missing in America Project, which offered to provide a proper military funeral service,” she said.
Missing in America doesn’t verify if a veteran was homeless or had no family, said John Caldarelli, the program’s coordinator for New York. It does verify the person’s military service with the VA, he said.
“We see that they get an honorable and dignified funeral,” he said.
With Craig Schneider
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated Chan's title.