Family speaks out after WWII soldier is identified - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Family speaks out after WWII soldier is identified

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WOOD COUNTY (WAOW) -

For 72 years, the fate of World War II veteran Gerald Wipfli was a lingering unknown for his family.

The Nekoosa native was deemed missing in action back in 1944 after an intense battle with German forces.

But that's all his family knew.

"It was always kind of like Gerald was the legend of the family," said his niece, Nancy Weaver. "We all knew that he had been lost in WWII, but didn't really know details."

He was their unanswered question. He was one of more than 400,000 who died in the war, and one of 73,000 still unaccounted for.

"For 72 years, we knew nothing," said Weaver. 

Earlier this year, his status changed. According to the Department of Defense, his remains were found by German electrical workers back in 2010. They were then shipped to a medical examiner in Hawaii, who eventually identified Wipfli. 

It was a move that gave closure to his family. 

"We talk about him from time-to-time and it's always been 'What happened?'" said Weaver. "And now we do have a complete picture of what took place. We're at peace with it, you know? It's been many, many years."

Wipfli will be laid to rest with full military honors on Saturday at Riverside Cemetery in Nekoosa. 

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