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Duquesne grave marker story prompts influx of information

Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
A grave marker belonging to WWII veteran Charles R. Deemer was recently installed in the war memorial at Duquesne VFW Post 188. No one from the post knows who Deemer was or where his grave is really located.

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Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 3:01 a.m.

The mystery surrounding the lost tombstone of a local veteran that was found in Duquesne has been solved.

Well, sort of.

It's still unclear how the grave marker of Marine and World War II veteran Charles R. Deemer came to be lost in the area of Viola Avenue and Fourth Street, where a street department worker found it several years ago.

But folks at Duquesne VFW Post 188, who'd taken the granite stone in for safekeeping, now know more about Deemer, who hailed from Brentwood and was retired from the former Mackintosh-Hemphill Foundry in Pittsburgh.

“We found the family the day after the article ran,” said VFW Post manager John Burke, referring to a story in The Daily News last week about the mysterious tombstone.

People began contacting the newspaper and the VFW Post immediately with copies of obituaries and information about Deemer, who was born on June 20, 1919, and died April 28, 1993.

Folks at St. Basil Parish in Carrick, which conducted Deemer's funeral Mass, Cieslak & Tatko Funeral Home in Brentwood and St. Wendelin Cemetery in Carrick were helpful in unraveling the mystery.

The VFW reached family members of Deemer who live in Brentwood and learned the marker apparently is a duplicate stone that was never placed in the cemetery. It is believed a worker who'd been hired to clean the family's garage removed the granite marker but it is still not clear how it ended up in Duquesne.

Burke said the VFW was given permission by the family to keep the spare marker in front of their post, where it had been ceremoniously installed this past Veterans Day.

“The family is OK with us keeping it,” said Burke, who noted the post still plans to have a celebration honoring Deemer on his birthday.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or

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