11-SH Gravesite-insert

In early June, Mary Ann Frazer, the sexten at the Lakeview Cemetery in South Haven, and her mother Beverly Smith contacted V.O. van Heest with the news that they had just discovered an unmarked grave where unidentified remains of Flight 2501 victims were buried in 1951. Subsequent research led van Heest to conclude that the grave represented remains found along the beaches in Van Buren County. County jurisdictions likely prohibited commingling those remains with remains brought from off shore to St. Joseph in Berrien County.

The mother/daughter team and van Heest worked together to place a stone and host a memorial service. The St. Joe Monument Works in Benton Harbor, Michigan, donated a stone—an actual boulder—engraved with the flight number and date. The stone was dedicated at a memorial service held on June 24, 2015, the 65th anniversary of the crash. The Filbrandt Family Funeral Home made arrangements and Pastor Robert Linstrom officiated, as they did for the 2008 service in Riverview Cemetery.  Although the short time frame did not allow any of the families to attend, they were able to participate virtually in the service through a newscast produced by WZZM-TV.  At least 60 indidiuals attended the service to honor the victims.

Author V.O. van Heest delivered a lecture at the Michigan Maritime Museum after the service.