My mom's older brother Mort (Arthur Mordecai), always a bit of an outsider, disappeared from our radar in the late 1980s after the death of their mother. We knew only that he and his wife had moved relatively near us, to Tacoma, from Los Angeles. He never got in touch.
Last year I discovered on the Web that he had died just a few months earlier. I visited the Tacoma newspaper offices and found out the obituary had been supplied by a rest home. I contacted that establishment and left my number so that they could forward it to his surviving stepson Steve.
He called me back and let me know that Mort's ashes had been interred at the local military cemetery. He had served in WWII at Guadalcanal (a traumatic experience that did not help his mental state any). Steve said that he'd tried to get Mort to contact his sister but he simply wasn't interested. Very sad.
At any rate last weekend I found my way to the cemetery, which is nestled in the countryside, and located his marker. It's the lower right-most one.
Adjacent to it, hundreds of empty plaques ominously await the names of future military casualties and veterans.