Private First Class Donald Ross Tolson, son of Ora C. and Roxy Ann Mabel (McKay) Tolson, was born in Kanss City, Mo., on August 18, 1923.

Private First Class Donald Ross Tolson, son of Ora C. and Roxy Ann Mabel (McKay) Tolson, was born in Kanss City, Mo., on August 18, 1923. He attended the Laredo public school several years until his family moved to Bakersfield, Calif., when he was a teenager. He graduated high school in Bakerfield then enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in San Diego, Calif., on Sept. 20, 1941. He served with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Forces, in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. On Nov. 20, 1943, during the first day of the attack on Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, Tolson was killed in action. He was survived by his parents, a brother, Chester, and his maternal grandfather, James F. McKay. He was preceded in death by his older brother, Ferrell, his maternal grandmother, Magnetta (Rule) McKay, and his paternal grandparents. At the time of his death, Tolson was buried with many from Company F at Tarawa. The Department of Defense exhumed his remains and positively identified them on Sept. 18, 2017, in the POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s laboratory located in Hawaii. For his actions in service, PFC Tolson received the Purple Heart, and is memorialized in Court 4 of the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Hawaii. The U.S. Marine Corps will accompany his remains form hawaii to Kansas City, Mo., where he will be buried in his family’s plot in Mount Moriah Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017.

Recovery of hero's remains brings closure for family 74 years after death