Donald Tyler made it back from the war in Vietnam, only to have his ashes lost in the mail a half-century later after he seemingly died from coronavirus in Spain, according to his grieving widow.
Christine Tyler told KPAX news in Montana that her husband of 41 years got sick while the couple was celebrating their anniversary in Spain in March. According to Tyler, her 69-year-old spouse fell ill five days into their trip, and doctors started treating him for COVID-19. The former nurse, who retired 10 years ago, stayed by Donald’s bedside until the Air Force veteran was moved to intensive care and died March 19.
“They decided, without really doing a whole lot of tests, that he had COVID and were treating him as such,” she told KTVQ.
Tyler, who did not test positive for the virus, then returned to her home in Billings, Mont., and waited for Donald’s cremated ashes to arrive. They never came.
According to Tyler, all she knows is that the remains were shipped in a box that’s roughly 18 inches tall, marked on three sides with orange tape and made from either wood or cardboard. She said that after spending a month at a mortuary, Donald’s remains were sent from Spain to Washington D.C., then to Chicago. Where they are now, no one knows. A military postmaster is said to be on the case.
“He’s a veteran,” she said. “He needs to be buried with some respect and some dignity.”
Tyler plans to continue searching for her husband’s remains and see to it that other military families never have to go through what she’s experiencing. Tyler also plans to hold a military funeral service for Donald, ashes or no ashes.
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