When I was a youngster I was amazed that my dad, the local funeral director, knew everybody in our small community and also knew the history of each and every family in the city. After 35 years as a local funeral director I now find myself in the same situation. As they say, the apple does not far fall from the tree. I have gleaned a great value to the historical perspective of our , not so small anymore, community and work with others to impart the knowledge gained thru living here and writing obituaries of citizens. History has became fascinating to me. . . and I always like to learn more.
The other day I was researching topics for future columns in Funeral Director Daily and I came across a news item that a small cemetery in Quincy, Florida, was trying to clean up its cemetery for an upcoming March 18, 2017, dedication of a new monument for William M. Corry, Jr. Not knowing anymore about it I began searching information on the life of William M. Corry, Jr. Turns out that Mr. Corry, Jr., according to Wikipedia, was a United States Medal of Honor winner , receiving the award posthumously in 1920.
The fascinating history of Lieutenant Commander Corry included being designated Naval Aviator #23 in March of 1916. He then served as commander of air stations in France from 1917-1920. Think about it. That was really the fledgling years of aviation — only a few years after the Wright brothers first took flight in Kitty Hawk.
Lt. Commander Corry was awarded the Medal of Honor for service following an aviation crash near Hartford, Connecticut, when, even though injured, he ran back to pull the other officer free of the flaming aircraft. Corry was badly burned and died days later. He was buried in Eastern Cemetery in Quincy, Florida.
It appears, according to articles, that the events and ceremony leading up to the installation of the new monument was the inspiration of the Charles McClellan Funeral Home in Quincy.
Funeral Director Daily take: Are there historical people buried in the cemeteries that your funeral home serves? What a great way to pay honor to the tradition of honoring great Americans and also getting public relations points for your own funeral home in your community. Our local cemetery is the final resting place for four term United States Senator and Minnesota Governor Knute Nelson. Several years ago our funeral home, in conjunction with the local historical society, combined to get a plaque mounted by his grave as well as get the U.S. and Minnesota flag to be flown at his grave. The effort provided very positive public relations value to us.