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Funeral services Saturday for scrappy veterans activist

Funeral services Saturday for scrappy veterans activist image
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Photo: Winifred Rodriquez, left, and Mrs. Markey at St. Thomas Cemetery last May

Funeral services Saturday for scrappy veterans activist

By William B. Treml


“She’s a marvel. She gets people to do things,” Winifred Rodriguez said of Anna M. Markey last May during preparations for Memorial Day.

Mrs. Markey, whose funeral service will be held at St. Thomas Catholic Church on Saturday morning, was an active worker in veterans’ organizations for more than 50 years.

It was Mrs. Markey, widow of a World War I combat veteran and mother of a teen-age son killed in World War II, who revived Memorial Day services at St. Thomas Cemetery several years ago. The annual ceremonies at the graves of war veterans were gradually being abandoned when Mrs. Markey alerted local veterans groups and urged the Memorial Day services be continued.

A TIRELESS volunteer for projects involving veterans, Mrs. Markey, who was 84 when she died Thursday, was warmly regarded by members of the Erwin Prieskorn American Legion Post No. 46 and the Graf-O’Hara Veterans of Foreign Wars post. She worked with the auxiliary units of both organizations for many years.

Despite her life-long devotion to veterans’ causes, the local Gold Star mother often dismissed mention of her volunteer work with an impatient wave of the hand.

“No, no. I haven’t done anything more than a lot of people,” she told The News several months ago. “Probably not as much as many. But we should honor our veterans. We owe them a debt. We shouldn’t forget that.”

Last spring during a visit to St. Thomas Cemetery where her husband, Frank, and her son, Patrick, are buried, she noticed the flag pole at the entrance to the cemetery had neither a rope nor flag on it. When she inquired she was told the flag had been stolen and there were no plans to replace it.

“WELL, I couldn’t take that, what with Memorial Day coming up and all. So I just started calling people,” she said.

A local veterans’ organization responded. A new rope and flag were on the pole in time for Memorial Day.

Her late husband was a decorated veteran who was seriously wounded in the battle of Argonne Forest in World War I. He died in 1965, after a 33-year career with the Michigan Highway Department.

The Markeys’ son, Patrick, was 18 when he was killed by Japanese fire during the Marine Corps attack on Iwo Jima in World War II.

The rosary will be recited at 7:30 p. m. today at the Muehlig Chapel with a funeral mass at St. Thomas Church at 10 a. m. Saturday. Burial will be in St. Thomas Cemetery.