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WWII vet returned 76 years later, family invites public to funeral

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1st Lieut. Joseph Edward Finneran was killed in action in 1943 and his remains have finally been returned home

1st Lieut. Joseph Edward Finneran was a U.S. Army Air Force veteran of World War II, enlisting eleven days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Not quite two years later, Finneran was killed in action.   

Finneran and his crewmates were carrying out a bombing raid in Ploesti, Romania, known as Operation Tidal Wave, when their plane was lost. Finneran was presumed dead on August 1, 1943, and though he was posthumously awarded medals for his valor – a Purple Heart, a Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster, an Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters – his family didn’t have the closure of being able to bury their son and brother. His remains were lost for 76 years.   

Now, Finneran has come home. His remains were found, identified via DNA, and returned to his Massachusetts home. The nieces and nephews who survive him are remembering him this weekend with a funeral that the public is invited to.   

Visitation will take place Friday, November 8, 4:00-7:00 pm, at George F. Doherty Funeral Home in Needham, Massachusetts. And a Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, November 9, 10:00 am, at St. Joseph Church in Needham, Massachusetts, followed by burial with full military honors at Mount Benedict Cemetery in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. The family notes: “The public is most cordially invited to participate in any part of this tribute to our uncle, 1st Lieut. Joseph E. Finneran, a true American hero.”   

Even if you can’t make it to the funeral, you can send a message to Lieut. Finneran’s family. We invite you to share condolences for 1st Lieut. Joseph Finneran in our Guest Book