After 74 Years, World War II Soldier Laid to Rest in Lackawanna County

SCRANTON, Pa. -- A World War II soldier who died during the war 74 years ago was finally laid to rest Wednesday with a funeral service in his hometown of Scranton.

The remains of Pvt. Willard "Bud" Jenkins were returned home last week.

The Army used DNA technology to identify his body.

There may be only one person alive who still remember Private First Class Willard "Bud" Jenkins, but the showing at his funeral proves he won't soon be forgotten.

Edna Jenkins, 83, of Scranton may be the only person alive who actually knew Bud Jenkins. Bud was her big brother.

"I was only 9 when he was reported killed. But, we used to meet him down the bottom of 13th Street, and there was a grocery store there, and he'd buy us something. He'd put one on one shoulder, one on the other, and he'd walk us up that hill," Edna recalled.

Edna was certainly not alone in putting her brother to rest.

A private first class in the Army during World War II, Bud Jenkins was killed in 1944 during Operation Market Garden in Holland but his remains were never identified until earlier this year.

Current members of Jenkins' unit served as his pallbearers. Two generals came in for the service.

"I literally grew up around the corner from where we're standing right now, in the Bellevue section. When I heard about this event taking place here, there was no way I couldn't be here for it, literally, to bring a fellow Scranton guy back home," said Brig. Gen. Mike Regan, deputy adjutant for air, Pennsylvania, U.S. Army.

Humvees and motorcycles led the hearse from Chomko Funeral Home on Railroad Avenue.

Skycam 16 picked up the procession on Luzerne Street only blocks from where Jenkins took his little sister to the store all those years ago.

PFC. Jenkins' funeral procession weaved through his old neighborhood of West Scranton there were supporters lining the streets throughout the entire route, including on the Morgan Highway which would lead him to his final resting place.

"I'm going to tear up, I'm going to tear up, I just think, you know, it makes the hair on my arms stand up. We just wanted to do this for him and his family," said Laurie Fiegleman of Scranton.

The service ended with a full military burial at Abington Hills Cemetery in South Abington Township.

Based on the number of strangers who came to see Bud Jenkins long-awaited homecoming, it's safe to say his memory will outlive his only living relative.

"I'm very glad that they found her brother, and he's at peace, and he's a peace now," said Scranton resident Arlene Pickett.