WWII Osage Veteran Buried in B-29 Piston

Posted at: 07/05/2013 8:50 PM
By: Sammantha Befort

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It's a piece of American History.  The last working World War Two plane of its kind, that still soars.  The B-29 Fifi now forever tied to a local man who served his country.

Friday would have been Melborne "Bud" Lonergan's 91st birthday. Bud's Daughter Pam Krikke of Michigan says, "We celebrated his 90th birthday in the hospital and he died 11 days later." 

Friday was the day he was laid to rest. 

"He gave his body to science, so he's been in Iowa City for the past year to see what they could learn about a man who was 90 years old and wasn't ill," said Krikke.

Bud's only living brother Marvin Lonergan says, "He served in Saipan and he served well.  He loved Iowa and he loved his country." 

Krikke says her dad was very patriotic, "There are photos of him saluting when he was this high, and I carry that through my whole life what this country meant to him."

Bud was the B-29 Crew Chief in World War II.  His gravestone is etched with a B-29 and the words "Flying For Freedom." 

His urn was donated by the Confederate Air force. 

"They have the only flying B-29 in the world and it ended up they donated a piston from the B2-9 Fifi to be used as my dad's urn," said  Bud's son David Lonergan who currently lives in Arizona.   

To honor their father in this unique way, Bud's family came all the way to Osage from three different states.