Subscribe
Navy veteran Petty Officer 1st Class Keith Tipsword was killed while serving on the battleship USS West Virginia during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Navy veteran Petty Officer 1st Class Keith Tipsword was killed while serving on the battleship USS West Virginia during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. (DPAA)

BEECHER CITY, Ill. — An Illinois sailor who died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor has been laid to rest in his home state more than 80 years after his death.

U.S. Navy Machinist's Mate 1st Class Keith Tipsword was buried Tuesday alongside his parents and other relatives at Moccasin Cemetery near the rural central Illinois village of Beecher City.

Tipsword was 27 when he was killed while serving on the battleship USS West Virginia during the Japanese attack on Hawaii's Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

His remains had been buried as an unknown at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, but they were identified this year by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, the (Decatur) Herald & Review reported.

Dalyne Sapp of Effingham, the last of Tipsword's seven siblings still living, attended Tuesday's funeral service. Sapp, 86, said her brother is now buried near the family farm where he grew up among the "hills and hollers" of Effingham County's Moccasin Township.

"It's wonderful. It warms my heart, for sure," she said after the service.

The POW/MIA Accounting Agency identified Tipsword using DNA provided five years ago by Sapp and her sister, Betty Fae Yocum of Toledo, Illinois, who died in 2019.

More than 60 motorcyclists from the Patriot Guard Riders escorted Tipsword's casket from St. Louis to Effingham last week. About a dozen of the riders took part in Tuesday's services.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up