Getting a WWII veteran the proper burial he deserves shouldn’t be a difficult task — it is the very least we, as a society, can do.
Unfortunately, in the case of Earl Danford Corliss, the task was monumental.
As the story unfolds this week with Part II in our special feature on the former Prince Rupert man, authored by Northern View reporter Shannon Lough, this Saturday, Mr. Corliss will, indeed, be buried in the Fairview Cemetery beside his beloved wife Salome.
Ms. Lough must be commended for going well above and beyond her duties here at this newspaper. Over the past year, she has combed through volumes of military and genealogical records, conducted an exhaustive search for relatives, jumped over numerous bureaucratic hurdles and, in the end, wrote a poignant fair, balanced and accurate reflection of Mr. Corliss, along with his trials and tribulations.
In the end, we are truly proud of Ms. Lough’s remarkable work ethic and determination in spearheading the effort to provide Mr. Corliss with his deserved resting place.
We would also like to thank Mr. Wendel Ottmann, a former Prince Rupert RCMP officer, for not only bringing the matter to our attention but steadfastly remaining in contact and assisting — and continues to assist — the effort at every turn.
We also need to thank the Prince Rupert Geneological Society for assisting Ms. Lough in her hunt for Mr. Corliss’ family. Their knowledge and altruistic efforts were invaluable in locating Mr. Corliss’ family and ultimately paving the way to the long-overdue honours that will be bestowed on Saturday.
Along the way, Ms. Lough acknowledges there have been a number of individuals that after reading the story have also stepped up to guide both Ms. Lough and the Corliss family through the bureaucratic maze. From Gwen Tait who, after reading the story, called in and let us know she was a family member who wanted to help, to Danielle Dalton, a city employee, who literally went the extra mile to deliver Mr. Corliss’ ashes to Prince Rupert, the number of people who have reached out is heart-warming.
We would also like to make mention of and thank the Royal Canadian Legion, executive and members, the City of Prince Rupert, the RCMP, Royal Canadian Sea Cadets and Chaplain Derry Bot for their participation in Saturday’s memorial service.
It has been a long road home for Mr. Corliss to a city where he was once homeless. Maybe finally, after a difficult life — and in death — may Mr. Corliss rest in peace.