SWFL veteran laid to rest after 80 years

Reporter: Annalise Iraola Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

After 80 years, a World War II veteran is finally laid to rest.

Second lieutenant Pharis Weekley’s remains were returned to southwest Florida last week.

He was just 21 years old when his plane was shot down during Operation Tidal Wave, over Romania.

“You know, he was denied,” said Marva Turner Weekley, Pharis’s youngest sister. “He was 21. He was denied the rest of his life.”

She was just 14 years old when her brother went to war.

“We just figured the plane burned, and we would never have anything for closure,” Weekley said.

Through DNA testing, his remains were identified 80 years later.

According to Pharis’s niece Cathy Albritton, Pharis’s mother never gave up hope that one day she would reunite with her son.

“Every time the greyhound bus pulled into town, even after she had heard that he had been killed in action, she watched that bus and watch the people that came off of it and always hoped that he would just just come off and she was going to see him again, so today, they’re together again,” Albritton said.

Pharis was finally laid to rest in a plot right next to his parents.

“It was just very touching to know that he’s, he’s where he’s home,” Albritton said. “He’s back, and he’s going to be right beside his mom and dad.”

At last, there is some peace for those who loved him.

Closure, yet not the end of a chapter.

“Now that family scrapbook that was on my grandmother’s coffee table, sits on my mom’s coffee table,” Albritton said.

But the start of a new one.

“I’m adding another chapter to it, and I have a lot of memorabilia to put into that scrapbook,” Albritton said.

So, for generations to come, they will always know their family’s hero.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.