October 8, 2021. When Alexander McGregor DEANS died on April 28, 2010, his estate was able to pay for his burial at the Tryon People’s Cemetery in Tryon, Prince Edward Island. Unfortunately, there were insufficient funds for a headstone, and no family or friends stepped up to help pay for one.
The lack of a gravestone bothered Jack Sorensen, Chair of the Tryon Peoples Cemetery Inc. Jack had met Deans as both attended the same church. He remembered that Deans had requested that a Canadian flag be draped over his coffin, and then later recalled being told that Deans, who had lived in Crapaud, had been a veteran.
In 2020, Jack contacted Pieter, in his role as Public Relations Officer at the Borden-Carleton Legion, and asked if the Legion would cover the cost of a headstone for a veteran. Pieter knew that the Last Post Fund, administered by Veterans Affairs, could fund a headstone for eligible veterans in unmarked graves, but it was unknown if Deans was a veteran. Proof of military service was one of the requirements. (See https://www.lastpostfund.ca/unmarked-grave-program/)
After Pieter started researching Deans, the estate’s lawyer was able to find a Veterans Affairs client number, indicating he had been a veteran. Pieter also found a 1949 yearbook entry from Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto, stating that Deans, from Bolton, Ontario, had graduated after his studies had been interrupted due to war service. Deans was a WW2 veteran!
With these two pieces of information, Pieter turned the file over to Marilyn Letts, Service Officer at PEI Command. As the Provincial Service Officer, she was able to verify the information with Veterans Affairs and make the application for a headstone.
The application was approved, and on September 28, 2021, Paul Cyr of Brunswick Monuments Ltd in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, installed the headstone.
Jack and Pieter commemorated the headstone by placing a Canadian flag at his grave. 11 years after his death, Alexander Deans no longer lies in an unmarked grave.
Jack, Pieter, and Marilyn are to be commended for the effort they made into ensuring that this WW2 veteran was not forgotten.
With Remembrance Week coming up, please take a look through your photo albums and in your attics in case you have a photo or information to share about Canadian soldiers. You can email us at email@example.com, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.
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