By Valerie Franchi, Contributing Writer
Hudson – A Hudson resident who served in the army during World War II recently received military honors more than three decades after his death.
Pfc. Francesco “Frank” LiPetri received full military honors at his gravesite in St. Michael's
Parish cemetery by members of the 54th Army Regiment Honor Guard in a small ceremony Oct. 2. A bronze plaque was installed at his grave and the American flag was presented to his daughter Hudson resident Gloria LiPetri. Daughter Barbara Bonazzoli and her husband Richard, grandson David Bonazzoli, Bill and Diane Dexter, Michelle McDonald and daughter Madelyn, all of Hudson, and Doris Strom of Bolton also were in attendance.
Francesco LiPetri was born in 1900 in Palermo, Italy, and grew up during the Progressive Era. He was a silk braider by trade. He enlisted in the U.S. Army at Fort Slocum, N.Y., and was assigned to Battery C, 52nd Artillery (Coast Artillery Corps – Railroad). He died in 1981 at the age of 80. He had one son, three daughters, and 16 grandchildren at the time of his death.
According to Brian Stearns, Hudson Veterans Director, family members David Bonazzoli and William Dexter were the catalysts behind LiPetri receiving the deserved honor.
“As a nation, it is our responsibility to ensure that these men and women are honored appropriately and are never forgotten for the honorable deeds they performed when called upon,” Stearns said.
Dexter, who is married to David Bonazzoli's cousin, Diane, explained that they first began to investigate whether LiPetri had been properly recognized for his service after another death in the family.
“David's sister passed away this summer,” Dexter said. As a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, she received military honors at her funeral.
“I thought about David's grandfather. I had seen pictures of him in an Army uniform, but had never seen a memorial at his gravesite,” Dexter said.
Bonazzoli, who now resides in Florida, found his grandfather's honorable discharge paperwork and brought it to Veterans Services in Hudson.
Stearns looked into the matter and helped arranged for the ceremony.
“It is important that we remember and honor those who have served our nation even if it is 32 years overdue,” Stearns said.
“The family usually works with the funeral director to request honors for the deceased,” Stearns explained. “The honors are provided by the deceased person's branch of service they were affiliated with while in the military.”
Dexter said he doesn's know why LiPetri was never given a military funeral. “Maybe the family forgot,” he said. “At least he finally got his just rewards.”