Skip to main content

WWII soldier's remains will finally be buried this weekend

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A World War II soldier's remains are coming home to Minnesota.

Army Pvt. John P. Sersha, a 20-year-old from Leoneth, will be buried with full military honors in Eveleth over Memorial Day weekend – nearly 72 years after he went missing, according to a news release from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Sersha was assigned to Company F, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment as part of Operation Market Garden. He was one of three "Bazooka Men" sent out to assault the Germans who controlled Kiekberg Woods in the Netherlands on Sept. 27, 1944.

But he and the two other "Bazooka Men" didn't return from battle, and several soldiers said Sersha had been killed – but his body wasn't found.

On April 12, 1948, the American Graves Registration Command recovered two sets of remains from an isolated grave in the Kiekberg Woods. One of the remains was identified, but the other – believed to be Sersha, but officials couldn't confirm it – was buried at the United States Military Cemetery at Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium.

Then last December, at the request of Sersha's family, the unidentified remains were exhumed. Officials used DNA, which matched Sersha's nephew and brother, along with dental and anthropological analysis, laboratory analysis and circumstantial evidence to identify Sersha.

Sersha's nephew Dick Lohry spoke with the Fay Observer last month about what led to the family's recent push to find his remains. In 2005, Lohry was given a photo of his uncle's name listed on a memorial at a cemetery in Europe, and that renewed his efforts to identify his uncle.

More about Sersha

Sersha was born on April 24, 1924, and lived in Leoneth, which is an area of Eveleth in northeastern Minnesota, according to his obituary.

Before joining the U.S. Army in 1943, he worked for the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railroad Company. He trained in Texas before he was sent to Maryland, where he was assigned to the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment. From there, he went to Europe for the war.

A visitation is scheduled for Friday from 4-7 p.m. at the Bauman-Cron Funeral Home in Virginia, Minnesota, with a funeral service set for Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church.

Interment with full military honors will be held at the Eveleth Cemetery following the ceremony.

Roughly 16 million Americans served in World War II – 400,000 were killed, including 7,800 Minnesotans, according to the Minnesota Historical Society and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-05-11 at 7.04.37 PM

LIVE UPDATES: Dangerous storms move through Twin Cities

We'll have live updates as the storms move through the metro.


Tornado watch issued in Twin Cities, southern Minnesota

The watch will remain in place until midnight.

Wild fox.

Wild fox in Minnesota tests positive for highly contagious avian flu

This is the first confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a wild mammal in the state, the Department of Natural Resources said.

New COVID-19 testing site in Midway neighborhood.

New COVID-19 testing site in St. Paul; 3 others to close as cases rise

Testing sites in Stillwater, Hutchinson, and St. Paul are closing as part of moves to adjust testing resources.

Screen Shot 2022-05-11 at 4.47.49 PM

St. Joseph man dies in motorcycle crash

The 27-year-old motorcyclist struck a curb, causing him to lose control before he crashed.


Downtown bike day—city biking at its best!

Move Minneapolis and ABC Ramps Mobility invite you to come along for the ride at Target Plaza on June 1, 2022

Anthony Skelley

Charges: South St. Paul teen killed during apparent marijuana sale

The individual accused of killing Skelley is a 17-year-old from St. Paul.

Anthony Edwards

Anthony Edwards among NBA stars in Adam Sandler's Netflix film, 'Hustle'

The Timberwolves point guard stars alongside other NBA players LeBron James, Trae Young, Juancho Hernangomez and more.

police lights

Armed man found barricaded inside Brooklyn Park home, negotiators on scene

An active police presence remains in the area as negotiators speak with the suspect.

Anthony Skelley

17-year-old South St. Paul homicide victim is identified

The medical examiner determined that Skelley died of multiple gunshot wounds.

tornado, severe weather

Tornado watch issued in Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska

Severe storms are expected to push into southwest Minnesota this afternoon.

Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 9.08.37 AM

Korean chicken chain Bonchon's 6th MN location set to open

The South Korean-based franchise has steadily increased its presence across the country.


Remains of MN Marine killed in WWII will finally be buried

Sgt. James Joseph Hubert was killed in 1943.

Remains of Minn. fighter pilot killed in Vietnam to be buried at Ft. Snelling

The remains of Navy Lt. William E. Swanson, a 27-year-old pilot from Minnesota whose plane went down in 1965 during the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors Monday at Ft. Snelling.

St. Cloud soldier killed in Korea more than 60 years ago finally buried at home

The remains of St. Cloud soldier who went missing in Korea in 1950 and was declared dead a year later have finally been buried in his hometown. The St. Cloud Times reports that the remains of U.S. Army Cpl. Francis John “Fuzzy” Reimer were identified with DNA samples submitted by his mother and sister 11 years ago.

WWII veteran, Twin Cities business owner finally receives H.S. diploma

After 70 years, a World War II veteran from Fargo, N.D., can call finally call himself a high school graduate. Teddy Wong, who was drafted into the Army during his junior year of high school, was given an honorary diploma Saturday in Fargo. Wong is the owner of the longest family-owned business in Roseville.