Danny Wilson: Request for Disposition of Remains, November 1947

In his book, Soldier Dead: Who We Recover, Identify, Bury, & Honor Our Military Fallen, Michael Sledge wrote, “The angst involved in signing a statement as to the final disposition of a family member must have been tremendous.”

Leora Wilson, widowed in late 1946, eventually signed the official paperwork to have her son Danny buried permanently at the Lorraine American Cemetery at St. Avold, France. It also had to be notarized.

She just couldn’t go through another funeral, and didn’t believe they’d ever find her son Dale.


I, Leora F. Wilson, Mother, having familiarized myself with the options which have been made available to me with respect to the final resting place of the deceased designated above [2/Lt. Daniel S. Wilson], now do declare that it is my desire that the remains:

X  Be interred in a permanent American Military Cemetery Overseas.

As explained in the pamphlet, “Disposition of World War II Armed Forces Dead” I am the next of kin and the individual authorized to direct the disposition of the said remains.

I, the undersigned, DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR (OR AFFIRM) that the statements made by me in the foregoing document are full and true to the best of my knowledge and believe.

Signed: Leora F. Wilson, Route #2, Perry, Iowa

Subscribed and duly sworn to before me according to law by the above-named applicant this 18th day of November 1947, at city (or town) of Adel, county of Dallas, and State (or Territory or District) of Iowa.

Signed: Georgia W. Clark, Deputy Clerk District Court in and for Dallas County, Iowa.

This photo was taken in Omaha two months later by her nephew Merrill Goff, who grew up in the neighborhood when they lived in Dexter. He’d served in the Marines during WWII and became a photographer, having his own studio in Omaha.

Leora (Goff) Wilson and her mother, Laura (Jordan) Goff. Omaha, January 1948

Leora Goff Wilson was the mother of the Wilson brothers featured on the Dallas County Freedom Rock at Minburn, Iowa. All five served. Only two came home.

Their story is told in  Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II



    • I’ll bet it was her nephew Merrill Goff’s idea, while Leora was in Omaha visiting her own mother. So thankful for it, although these seem more than others to catch pain in Leora’s eyes.

  1. This is both interesting and poignant. I had no idea that permission was sought of the next of kin for burial in cemeteries abroad.

    • Mom (Doris in the book) said that Grandma Leora just couldn’t deal with another funeral, and she had a feeling that Dale would never be found. It was her choice, and the remaining siblings backed her up. But no one visited Danny’s grave until October 1997. I need to tell that story.

  2. Perfect picture. I’ve taken very few good pictures of people, but I can honestly tell you the photographer caught the pain and grief even if there was a shot at hiding it. the official notarization was a surprise too.

    • Especially since those boys grew up in the neighborhood, along with the motherless cousins who lived with that grandmother. Merrill Goff was born in 1924, between Danny and Junior, so they were also best friends.

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