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5f63d6dd864b7.imageAyden Biancone of Exeter Township accepts the flag that draped an urn holding the ashes of World War I veteran Lewis Hamilton. Ayden was responsible for getting Hamilton's unclaimed ashes interred at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Lebanon County.

Reading, PA World War I veteran laid to rest 54 years after his death thanks to Exeter woman 

By Michelle Lynch
via the Reading Eagle newspaper (PA) web site

The hearse carrying Lewis Hamilton’s cremated remains made its way slowly up the winding road.

In the front passenger seat, Ayden Biancone sat, solemnly accompanying Hamilton's urn to its final resting place at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Lebanon County.

It was Ayden, 18, of Exeter Township who took Hamilton’s forgotten ashes from a back cupboard shelf to honorable interment in a columbarium at the cemetery.

Their shared journey ended Tuesday when the Reading veteran was laid to rest, 54 years after his death.

In a phone interview after the ceremony, Ayden explained how she took responsibility for Hamilton’s remains.

“My grandmother found a box at the back of a cupboard after moving to a home in Mount Penn about 15 years ago,” she said.

Inside the cardboard box, the family found a paint-can-like cylinder holding human ashes. The label indicated cremation had taken place at the Charles Evans Crematorium in Reading. It listed Hamilton’s name and date of death, April 16, 1966, but nothing else.

The strange find didn’t surprise or disturb her family, said Ayden, a daughter of Vinny M. and Laura Biancone, who graduated this year from 21st Century Cyber Charter School and is now a freshman at Albright College.

The family knew the home's previous owner had been a mortician and figured the remains had gone unclaimed and were forgotten.

They put the can back on the shelf.

It remained there until earlier this year when Ayden’s grandmother put the house on the market. Ayden learned of the can then and decided the ashes deserved a more permanent home.

“I thought, ‘We have to find his family,’ ” she said. “This was someone’s loved one.”

Read the entire article on the Reading Eagle web site.

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