Bishop Kulick, Clergy and elected officials memorialize unclaimed dead

GREENSBURG – Some of them outlived their loved ones. Others were estranged from their families. Some were cremated more than 30 years ago. On a hillside beyond the boundary of the Westmoreland County Prison, 53 unclaimed remains were laid to rest in a special memorial service presided over by Bishop Larry J. Kulick on June 27.

“One of the corporal works of mercy is to bury our dead,” Bishop Kulick told those gathered for the service. “We are doing that today as a fruit of our charity and our discipleship.”

Whether a family could not afford to take on the financial responsibility of a proper burial, or if all efforts of tracking down relatives were exhausted, the cremains sat in boxes in an evidence room in the Westmoreland County Coroner’s Office.

Coroner Tim Carson was glad that a proper resting place was found for the 53 individuals.

 “I think this is an important function of our duties in the Coroner’s Office, and I appreciate the support of the community in doing this,” Carson said.

Two of the individuals memorialized were veterans. Nolan M. Holliday served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and Armand M. Bucci served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. Members of the American Legion posts throughout Westmoreland County escorted their remains to the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, where they will receive full military honors.

Joining Bishop Kulick for the ecumenical memorial service were the Reverend David Ackerman, Conference Minister, Penn West Conference of the United Church of Christ, and the Reverend Nick Poole from Calvary Church in Irwin. Each shared a reflection during the memorial service.

(L-R) The Rev. Nick Poole, Coroner Tim Carson, Bishop Kulick, the Rev. David Ackerman and Chief Deputy Coroner Albert Lonzo.


Bishop Kulick said the service brought together the community, regardless of political ideology, professional backgrounds or faith traditions. Bishop Kulick said the service of commendation, is a reminder to live in a way that is honorable, charitable and merciful. He said the memorial service is a beautiful sign of the unity of humanity rooted in faith.

“We see in this action that what we do is not the end. What we believe and what we do here is a sign of hope, a sign of belief in resurrection and of new life.”


Subscribe today!