77 years after being killed in action, La Crosse veteran returns home to be buried

George Naegle left La Crosse to serve in World War II, and never returned home.

“It was devastating for everyone in the very beginning.”

Mary Ann Lyden was 5 when her family got the telegram reporting her uncle was presumed dead, with no remains identified.

“We always thought about him, and was always wondering what happened?”

For years the family only had photos and a pillowcase gifted to the family from George, which was received one day before his death to remember him by.

“He was a part of the family and it continued to be that way for many, many years”.

Until, the government was able to finally identify his remains by comparing the remains to DNA samples given by Mary.

“It was amazing and I didn’t know they were doing that for so many.”

Mary Ann was given multiple options to decide where to have her uncle laid to rest and decided it should be home with his family.

“We were trying to help in every way possible too; we wanted to make sure he got back to where his family was,” explained Jeff Reinhart, Director of Cemeteries for the Diocese of La Crosse.

And on Saturday, George finally will return to those he loved, forever.

Visitation will take place Saturday from 9-10 a.m. at St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral in downtown La Crosse, before a mass at 10:30 a.m.

“To his home and with his parents and his sister. I know they would be happy,” concluded Lyden Get your weather forecast from people that actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.