When Army Staff Sgt. Dominic Eritano of Akron disappeared in Korea and was later declared dead, there never was a funeral.
Some 61 years later, Eritano as well as others in the military will be remembered at the 9 a.m. Mass on June 24 at St. Paul Catholic Church, 433 Mission Drive in Akron.
“It is important for closure,” said Eritano’s nephew, Mickey Eritano, who along with Caroline McCoy and Jim D’Agostino has planned the event at the church.
Dominic Eritano, 25 and a graduate of Hower Vocational School, was listed as presumed dead on New Year’s Day in 1953, said Mickey Eritano, 71, of Coventry Township.
“This was my uncle’s second tour of duty,” said Eritano, who is a former Akron councilman, a House of LaRose retiree and a drummer for the Phil Palumbo Band.
According to a January 1954 Beacon Journal article, Dominic Eritano received the Silver Star for single-handedly killing a machine gun crew and capturing the emplacement.
“When last seen, he was firing at a group of onrushing enemies,” the article said.
Mickey Eritano remembers when his grandmother, Sarah Eritano, was given the news that her son was missing in action.
“The screaming could be heard a block away,” said Eritano, who was 10 years old at the time.
The Eritano family never had a funeral. Sarah Eritano received a $10,000 life insurance check for her son, but she refused to spend any of it. Mickey Eritano said she simply had difficulty accepting her son had been killed.
Dominic Eritano’s name is on a plaque of MIAs at the Ohio Western Reserve Cemetery in Rittman, and is in the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
The Rev. Ralph Thomas, pastor at St. Paul, said it is important to remember all those who served.
“We never want to forget the sacrifices of people who have served our country, especially those who sacrificed their lives and those who have been missing in action,” he said.
Parishioners who wish to remember a loved one at the Mass should send the name, rank and a photo to the church by Friday.
Photographs and mementos of past or current service members will be on display in the church narthex from June 24 through July 4.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.