A Missouri World War One veteran is being with full military honors today—82 years after his death. The story of the life of Donald Wylie is a matter of small details. The rest is lost—as he seems to have been all these years.
We know from his death certificate he was born in Arizona. He had a wife named Mya. He was not quite 50 when he died of lung cancer in Webster Groves. He might have been among the thousands of Americans who got into World War One before his country declared war against Germany in 1917. Wylie joined the 22nd Oxford Rifles, a unit in Ontario, Canada that was part of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces that saw action in Belgium and France as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The Missouri Veterans Commission has learned he was a journalist in California after the war and apparently wrote a book before coming to Missouri and joining Gardner Advertising Company in St.Louis. Gardner went out of business in 1989.
Executive Director Larry Kay of the State Veterans Commission says that even in death, Wylie is a mystery. “:He was cremated…in St.Louis and really has remained unclaimed since that time. We think that he was in a funeral home for quite some time in St. Louis. And then somehow he wound up in a funeral home in Fulton, Missouri, and that’s where Linda Smith with the Missing in American project discovered his cremains.” The MIAP locates remains of forgotten veterans and sees that they are properly buried.
Sergeant Donald Wylie will at last be buried, joining his fellow veterans in the state veterans cemetery in Jacksonville, north of Moberly. At last, almost 82 years after his death, he’ll receive the full military honors he deserves.