Berton J. McQueen was born at Wind Cave, Jackson County, Kentucky, on December 2, 1923, to the late John McQueen and Nancy Jane (McFarland) McQueen. Berton had three brothers and three sisters, all of whom are deceased; Mary Jane (McQueen) Richardson, William Ernest Hatfield, Martin Walker Hatfield, Melverna (Hatfield) Mosley, Luther McQueen, and Cynthia Ellen (McQueen) Griffin.
Berton is survived by eight nieces and four nephews; Irene (Griffin) Keith of Florence, KY, Berton Griffin of Corbin, KY, Mildred (Hatfield) Murrell of Miami, AZ, William Ernest Hatfield, Jr of Clayton, IN, Marjorie (Hatfield) Fields of Connersville, IN, Imogene (Griffin) Judd of Corbin, KY, James H. Griffin of Brandenburg, KY, Barbara (Griffin) Richardson of Big Stone Gap, VA, Beverly (Griffin) Nottingham of London, KY, Rosa (Griffin) Combs of London, KY, Genevieve (Griffin) Palm of Lily, KY, and Timothy J. Griffin of LaFollette, TN.
Berton is survived by two special great-nieces, Regina (Hobbs) Brewer, and Lisa (Hobbs) Brown and husband Carl, and one great-nephew, Virtsol Bert Hobbs, all of McKee, KY.
Berton is also survived by many other great-nieces, great-nephews and cousins who will never let him be forgotten. One cousin in particular, Michael E. McQueen of Wind Cave, KY, provided the crucial DNA for a definitive identification to finally bring Berton home.
Berton grew up in the closely-knit community of Wind Cave, surrounded by loving family members and friends. He had a great sense of humor; he loved to laugh and enjoyed making others laugh, a quality which garnered him a great many friends both at home and in the military. Berton attended Wind Cave School and was a member of Wind Cave Baptist Church. He enjoyed squirrel hunting and fox hunting with his dad in the woods surrounding his home. Berton loved his home and community. He wrote letters home frequently expressing his hope that the war in Europe would end soon so that he could return home to those he loved, who were waiting anxiously for his return. Sadly, Berton was killed six months before the war in Europe ended, leaving his family, friends, and community in a state of mourning. After 78 years, Berton is finally returning home to be laid to rest in his home community.
PFC McQueen was inducted into the U.S. Army on April 27, 1943 at Fort Thomas, KY. He died in battle November 23, 1944, near the town of Clefcy in France, while fighting the Axis Powers during WWII. He was buried in France and remained unidentified until July 9, 2021, when, through the efforts of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, a positive identification was made possible through DNA matches and forensic analysis.
PFC McQueen is memorialized on the Wall of Missing at Epinal American Cemetery in Dinoze, France, on the WWII Monument which rests on the lawn of the Jackson County Courthouse in McKee, KY, as well as the Veterans Memorial Park in McKee, KY.
During his military service, PFC McQueen valiantly earned the following awards and decorations: Bronze Star Medal (Posthumous), Purple Heart with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters (Posthumous), Army Good Conduct Medal (Posthumous), European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Arrowhead device and one Silver Service Star, World War II Victory Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Infantry Badge, and Honorable Service Lapel Button-World War II.
Funeral services for Berton J. McQueen will be held at the Jackson County Veterans Memorial Park in McKee, KY, Saturday, October 16, 2021, at 10:00 AM, followed by a walk-through visitation until 2:00 PM. Anyone wishing to pay tribute to Berton J. McQueen for his life of service and sacrifice for his country is welcome to attend.
All CDC Covid-19 protocol will be followed.
Burial will follow at the Wind Cave Baptist Church Cemetery, Wind Cave, KY, with full Military Honors.
Lakes Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.