Marine killed at age 18 during WWII is finally coming home to be buried next to his mother

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Marine killed 74 years ago is coming back home to Kansas City Friday, and the Patriot Guard wants you to pay your respects to him before he is laid to rest.

Marine Private First Class Donald Tolson will be buried at Mt. Moriah Funeral Home off 103rd and Holmes in south Kansas City in a plot of land next to his mother, who died back in 1952.

Tolson had been missing in action for decades, but his remains were recently discovered on an island in the South Pacific.

The 18-year-old died there during an intense battle against the Japanese back in 1943. His remains were never recovered until last year, when an island native found Tolson’s dog tags in a trench.

The military exhumed his body and used dental records and other tests to identify him.

Tolson was born in Kansas City, moved to California as a teenager and joined the military right after high school.

He was awarded several honors after his death, including the Purple Heart.

Many of his relatives still live here in Kansas City, and while they don’t remember him since he died so long ago, they plan to be at KCI when his remains arrive around 1 p.m. Friday. The Patriot Guard will also be on hand to escort Tolson’s remains from the airport to the funeral home.

They will take I-29 south through downtown, down 71 Highway to 435 over to Holmes Road. They encourage you to stand on the side of Holmes Road waving flags and hanging them over overpasses as they pass.

Tolson’s funeral service is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. at Mt. Moriah. He will receive full military rights including a Marine chaplain and bagpiper.