Minnesota sailor killed at Pearl Harbor to be buried in hometown
By ST. CLOUD TIMES, MINN. Published: July 21, 2017
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (Tribune News Service) — The remains of one of the first Minnesotans killed during World War II will be buried with full military honors July 29 in Holdingford.
Navy Fireman First Class Elmer Kerestes was killed in action on Dec. 7, 1941, when he was aboard the USS Oklahoma during the attack on Pearl Harbor. His remains were identified in March 2017 with the help of DNA analysis and circumstantial evidence.
The USS Oklahoma suffered the second-highest number of casualties during the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was struck by multiple torpedoes and capsized, killing 429 sailors and Marines.
Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, but only 35 men could be identified at that time. In 2015 the Navy exhumed the unknown remains to attempt identification using newer processes.
Kerestes will be buried at 10:30 a.m. July 29 at Highland Cemetery near Holdingford.
His remains will arrive about two days prior to that at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The vehicle containing his remains will be escorted along Interstate Highway 94 by law enforcement, the Patriot Guard, Legion Riders and his family to the Patton-Schad Funeral Home in Melrose.
On the day of the burial, a procession will leave Patton-Schad Funeral Home in Melrose at 9:45 a.m. and go east on Stearns County roads 65 and 157 through Freeport to Albany, then east on Stearns County Road 54 to Avon, and then north on Stearns County Road 9 to Holdingford.
In Holdingford the procession will turn west and travel on Cedar Street to Main Street and then turn north. It will continue north to River Street/Stearns County Road 17, take a left and then turn north onto Stearns County Road 9 for about one mile before arriving at Highland Cemetery.
Northbound vehicle traffic on Stearns County Road 9 near the cemetery will be restricted for funeral services. Southbound traffic will remain open for local residents.
Parking will be available at Holdingford High School and on the township shop site on County Road 9. Shuttles will run from the high school and the shop site to the cemetery.
The family of Elmer Kerestes will be offering some food and refreshment following the funeral services at the Holdingford American Legion.
VFW Post 5160 in Holdingford was named in honor of Elmer Kerestes and Joseph Troxil. There is also a war memorial in Holdingford dedicated to Elmer Kerestes, Walter Mattson, Joseph Troxil and Walter Krystosek.