Man discovered dead off Jacks Valley Road to be given military burial with full honors
A man found dead off Jacks Valley Road in August will be given full military honors at a burial ceremony Friday.
After months of investigation, servicemen with the Capital Post 4 American Legion found records that show William John Derkowitz, 77, of Carson City served in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Derkowitz’s body was found surrounded by dirt and sagebrush in a secluded area by a woman walking her dogs Aug. 5 on public land. Officers identified the man and determined no foul play was involved in his death, but no relatives were located. Further investigation showed he had moved to Carson City from Vallejo, Calif.
A friend contacted the American Legion post and said Derkowitz had lived in the city for the past 10 years, said service officer Don Barr. His friend asked the veterans’ organization to find out if Derkowitz qualified for a full military burial because of his service during the war.
“Very little was known about this man,” Barr said. “He was a very private individual; he didn’t say a lot about the past.”
After spending time researching and getting official documentation proving Derkowitz’s service in the South Pacific and his honorable discharge in 1945, the Legion was able to secure his official burial. Military records show he was born in 1926 in Chicago.
Because of the man’s indigent status at the time of his death, the state will pay for the burial costs.
“It didn’t matter who he was, what he’d done, it is who he is now that counts,” Barr said. “Being an honorably discharged veteran, I felt it was very important he received all the honors he deserved. Especially being a wartime veteran.”
Derkowitz’s cremated remains will be buried in the veterans section of Lone Mountain Cemetery at 1 p.m. Friday. The public is invited to attend the ceremony that will include an honor guard from the Nevada National Guard.