Funeral director takes care of veteran’s ashes after they are found in ditch

U.S. & World News
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 Crews made an unusual discovery of a box in a ditch right next to a gravel road and what was found inside is only the beginning of the story.

It was a Cass County road worker who found it at 10:25 a.m. a week ago Wednesday in a ditch in rural Garden City.

The Sheriff then took a report of found property. Specifically, “human cremation remains.”

An ID card connected the box of ashes to Dickey Funeral Homes.

“If they found it like this, they would have known something was in it because you can feel it if you lift it up,” said Chris Meinsen, who works at the funeral home.

They had a similar case years ago, when a burglar ditched an urn after keeping what he wanted.

“I called the sister and she was more than elated to have the ashes found and she came immediately and picked them up,” Meinsen said.

However, this time is different.

The simple plastic urn had clearly been in the ditch for a while. The bag it was in had clearly deteriorated compared to a new bag they would have given the family in 2011.

They called next of kin to share the news, but it is now a week later and no one has come by.

It was 2011 when they had a service for Charles Addison, who died at the age of 72. He worked as a postal carrier, according to his obituary.

He also shared a bond with the funeral director’s father, the man who founded Dickey Funeral Homes.

“He’s been gone 13 years,” Jerald Dickey said. “13 years. Miss him every day.”

Bill Dickey had spent 19 months in the Pacific during World War II.

The man whose ashes Jerald Dickey is now watching over are those of Retired Air Force Staff Sergeant Charles Edward Addison, a veteran of the Vietnam War.

Jerald Dickey said “duty, obligation, honesty, honor and respect” are what his father taught him the funeral business is about.

So, Dickey has started seeking the paperwork needed for an inurnment at Higginsville’s Veterans Cemetery. It’s a decision the late Bill Dickey can take some credit for.

“I would like to think that he’s looking down and smiling on me,” Jerald Dickey said. “Saying, ‘You did a good job. I’m proud of you.’”

If Addison is not accepted at Higginsville, Dickey will have a burial at a local cemetery with honors.

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