In my essay on this website entitled “All That Remains,” I recounted a four year search to locate the rightful owner of a canvas-covered GI notebook from World War II (and earlier), kept by Eugene Arnold F. Denton and packed with personal memorabilia. It was found in a trash barrel on Bushwick Avenue in front of a dilapidated home at #1138 occupied by Mr. Denton before he became ill and was moved to a nursing home in NYC. He died there on June 18, 1999. After more than five years of pursuing a copy of his death certificate, and a change in the law as to those entitled to a copy thereof, I finally received the certificate.

It led me to his gravesite in Staten Island, where he lies in Grave 79 Range 21 Section H with no tombstone to mark his final resting place. Simple small American flag is all that denotes his service to his country in a lot not far from the cemetery office in a dilapidated building close to the cemetery entrance. Frederick Douglass Memorial Park, 3201 Amboy Road, was founded in 1935 to serve the Black community of New York in a way that other cemeteries in the City had not theretofore done. Denton was a white man, and I suspect that at the time of his death, in 1999, the Cemetery was in dire financial straits, and accepted burials of individuals paid for by New York City at very modest prices. This discovery brought closure for me to a story that had taken me far and wide and on a torturous path through court archives, a tearful meeting at his relative Cathy Saville’s home in Long Island and then, finally, in September, 2021 to his gravesite with certain knowledge of its authentic existence. Small solace for a man whose family cared nothing for him and whose personal effects were thrown in the trash when he was removed, one way of the other to a nursing home. Heaven only knows what stories he told there to his co-residents and caretakers about a life and his army career, loves won and lost, all the flotsam and jetsam of a sad life that I was able to reconstruct from all , his GI notebook and a sad and tear-filled visit at Cathy Saville’s home, to whom I remain indebted to this day.

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