Catholic Charities holds funeral service for Canadian veteran with no family

A Louisville-based organization is making sure a Canadian veteran, with no living relatives, gets a dignified burial.
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 3:48 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Louisville-based organization is making sure a Canadian veteran, with no living relatives, gets a dignified burial.

A Canadian man only known by his accolades at war died in Louisville on Aug. 9. Ken Pergantes was 97 when he passed away at his home. The Deputy Coroner tried to locate relatives or friends, but couldn’t find anyone, so Catholic Charities stepped in and started looking for answers.

“You know we are starting to lose our greatest generation,” Director Indigent Burial program at Catholic Charities Matt Whisman said. “Ken didn’t have any family. He passed away at 97, so we are just making sure the most respect he can. He did put in his service not to our country but to the Allied forces during WWII, so it’s important to honor his service then and make sure he’s not forgotten.”

Catholic Charities and Father Jon contacted the Canadian Consulate to make a notification of Ken’s death and asked for help finding Military records.

“He moved from Canada, probably in the 50s or 60s, moved down to Louisville,” Whisman said. “When he passed, we found he was a member of the Greek Orthodox church, and that really set everything into motion.”

The Canadian National Archives confirmed Pergantes had served during WWII with the Royal Canadian Air Force and had been given an Honorable Discharge. The next step was finding Pergantes a final resting spot.

”To respect his religion, we also plan on burying him because they don’t believe in cremation,” Whisman said. “Father John worked with us on getting him taken care of and then we spent many hours trying to track down documentation.”

With Pergantes being a Canadian soldier with no relatives, the US Veteran Cemeteries saw his situation as rare and didn’t know the burial process. Pergantes’s story is a reflection of why Catholic Charities’ work is important.

“Our goal is just to provide dignity in death for everyone that passes in our community regardless of religion race or anything like that,” Whisman said.

On Tuesday, Pergantes’s Louisville friends and circumstantial family said their goodbyes at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church. The Canadian Legion will help inter Pergantes and conduct a service before he is laid in his final resting place on Nov. 18.