The cremated remains of Tamaqua resident Francis "Frank" J. Camerini, 87, a highly decorated war veteran, were laid to rest recently at the Arlington National Cemetery.
Frank, husband of Joan (Wagner) Camerini, died October 16, 2011 and per prior agreements with loved-ones, asked to be laid to rest at the Arlington National Cemetery, located in Arlington, Virginia. About two dozen friends and family members attended the ceremony.
During Camerini's inurement burial service, soldiers with the United States Army's 3rd Infantry Regiment, also known as the "Old Guard", performed military honors. This included a processional march, folding of the burial flag, 21-gun salute, playing of Taps via their bugler and presentation of the burial flag to Joan.
Since World War II, The Old Guard has served as the official Army Honor Guard, as well as the escort to the President. In that capacity, 3rd Infantry soldiers are responsible for conducting military ceremonies at the White House, the Pentagon, national memorials and elsewhere in the nation's capital. In addition, soldiers of The Old Guard maintain a 24-hour vigil at the Tomb of the Unknowns and provide military funeral escorts at Arlington.
Born in Paganico, Italy, on November 2, 1923, Camerini was the son of the late Dominic and Marina (nee Domenenici) Camerini.
A WWII Army veteran, Camerini served as a member of the 702nd Tank Battalion, aka "The Red Devils", in General Patton's Third Army. Frank participated in both the Normandy Landing and the Battle of the Bulge. He was wounded in 1945 and was a recipient of two Purple Hearts, the Silver Star and the French Certificate Diplôme.
Prior to retiring, he had been employed by ICI Americas in Reynolds, as a senior lab technician, as well as being employed by the former Atlas Powder Company, also in Reynolds.
Camerini was also a well-known member of numerous organizations, some of which consisted of the Atlas 25-Year Club, Tamaqua American Legion C.H. Berry Post 173, Tamaqua Veterans of Foreign Wars, West Penn Archery Club and Tamaqua Rifle and Pistol Club.
During the service, loved ones stressed that family always came first is Frank's life.
"He was like a great grandfather to our family," said Eric Zizelmann, who also served as the service pre-coordinator and family's funeral director. "He had a great relationship with our kids. I remember walking in my home and seeing my kids laughing as they played on his back. He will be missed."
Surviving him are his wife; daughters, Francine M. Camerini of New York City and Kuwait and Christine Y. Camerini and her husband, Robert C. Drozal of Stroudsburg; son, David R. Wagner and his wife, Kathy of Lewisville, Texas; grandson, Robert J. Wagner; sisters, Irma Ginda and Mary Camerini, both of Tamaqua; sister-in-law, June Camerini; and several nieces and nephews.
Happily married to Frank since August 22, 1981, wife Joan gave her appreciation to Zizelmann, the staff of the cemetery, and all the family and friends.
"The service was very beautiful and truly a great honor to Frank," she said.