Remains of WWII sailor coming home to Butler County nearly 75 years after his death

Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 @ 1:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 @ 1:02 PM

            Thomas Murphy, pictured here at 22 when he was in the Navy, was killed during World War II in Tarawa. Now, nearly 75 years later, his body is being returned home to Butler County where he will be buried on Memorial Day. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Thomas Murphy, pictured here at 22 when he was in the Navy, was killed during World War II in Tarawa. Now, nearly 75 years later, his body is being returned home to Butler County where he will be buried on Memorial Day. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

A Butler County sailor who was killed nearly 75 years ago during World War II will be buried on Memorial Day in Hamilton’s Greenwood Cemetery.

MORE: 5 local veterans whose amazing stories of war have inspired us

Thomas J. Murphy, who was Navy pharmacist mate assigned to Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, was killed by a gunshot wound on Nov. 20, 1943, during Tarawa, a battle in the Pacific Theater. He was 22.

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Later, it was discovered that Murphy may be buried in Cemetery 27 on Tarawa, also known as the “Lost Cemetery.”

During a construction project in 2015, Cemetery 27 was discovered underneath a parking lot on Tarawa. Murphy’s body was recovered and his identification was officially announced on Oct. 11, 2017.

Murphy will be brought home to Hamilton to be buried next to his brother, Lester Oliver, and sister-in-law, Juanita Ison Oliver, in Greenwood Cemetery on Memorial Day.

MORE: Army veteran helps Butler County soldiers start next life chapter

Murphy saw a lot of action in his 17 months in the service. A ship he was on in the Casablanca landings was torpedoed and sunk in November 1942. He spent several hours in the water before being rescued. He was also in other action in which the ship he was on was either damaged or sunk.

In November 1943, Murphy was assigned to Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Fleet Marine Force. They landed, against stiff Japanese resistance, on the small Island of Beto in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. He was killed on the first day of battle on Nov. 20, 1943.

MORE: Once thought to have died at sea, Butler County veteran serves 3 wars

Murphy was the son of Jess and Anna Murphy of Greencastle, Ind.

His remaining relatives are two nieces, Nancy Oliver Huentelman and Chantel Oliver of Fairfield, and two nephews, John Oliver of Hamilton and Jim Oliver of Sedona, Ariz.

A visitation will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. May 27 in the Zettler Funeral Home, 2646 Pleasant Ave.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. May 28 with full military honors at Greenwood Cemetery. The service will be open to the public.

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Gravesite for ‘Buckskin Girl’ gets new headstone with her name

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 8:00 PM

Marcia Sossomon King was found dead in Miami County 37 years ago. She was known as the 'Bucksin Girl' until her remains were recently identified.

It took nearly 37 years before a positive ID was made of Jane Doe whose body was found along a Miami County road, but only a short time for donations and creation of a new stone marking her grave in Troy.

RELATED: Jane Doe no more: Miami County sheriff IDs cold case victim 37 years later

Marcia Sossomon King of Arkansas, who was 21 when she died in 1981, was remembered Friday with the placement of the stone and a memorial service at Riverside Cemetery. The name Sossomon, her father’s last name, was added at the request of her family.

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The body of the Jane Doe, also known as “Buckskin Girl” for the jacket, was buried at the city cemetery weeks after its discovery with a marker identifying the grave as Jane Doe’s.

Nine members of King’s family attended the Friday service.

“Words don’t describe the feelings we have for all of you, how you have loved her and taken her in your arms,” said her stepmother Cindy Sossoman.

RELATED: With ID, investigation intensifies into ‘buckskin girl’s’ unsolved homicide

She said King’s father, John Sossomon, died in January, a few months before she was identified. Cindy Sossomon said King was very trusting and obviously fell into the wrong hands. However, thanks to Miami County investigators and the community, she soon “was in good hands ... in the loving hands of people here.”

King’s identity was confirmed this spring thanks to new genetic genealogy tools by the nonprofit DNA Doe Project with ID confirmation by the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab.

She died of strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head. She had no socks, shoes, bags or any form of ID. She did have a buckskin jacket, which was shown in efforts to find out her name and led to her being known as the Buckskin Girl.

“We are grateful this day has come, that Marcia has a name other than Buckskin Girl,” said the Rev. Greg Simmons, chaplain of the Miami County Fraternal Order of Police lodge.

The stone was the result of a private fundraising effort led by retired Piqua police officer Paul Sullenberger with assistance from the FOP lodge. He asked the some 50 people gathered to say King’s full name aloud.

“Her name is written in stone and etched in our hearts and minds,” Sullenberger said.

“I just can’t thank people enough,” Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said of the efforts to provide the stone.

RELATED: How they did it: Groundbreaking technology reveals ID in 37-year-old cold case

Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Steve Lord said the investigation into who killed King continues with a focus on establishing a timeline for the days and weeks leading to the discovery of her body.

“She has been placed in Louisville, Kentucky, approximately 14 days prior to her being found,” he said. “We continue to seek the assistance from anyone that may have had contact with her in April of 1981 in Ohio or Kentucky.

Anyone with information is urged to call the sheriff’s tip line at 937-440-3990 or leave tips at

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

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Ribbon-cutting celebrates new services at Good Samaritan North

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 8:32 PM
Updated: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 1:36 PM

UPDATE @ 1:15 P.M.

Officials held a ceremony today for a ribbon-cutting celebrating new services at Good Samaritan Hospital North.

WATCH a replay of our Facebook Live from the event below:

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A ribbon-cutting ceremony for new services at Good Samaritan North Health Center, which will become Miami Valley Hospital North on July 23, will be held today at 1:00 p.m.

The ceremony will be at the Health Center located at 9000 N. Main Street, according to a release.

RELATED NEWS: Good Samaritan North to get a new name

For the first time, this site will offer inpatient beds--a total of 46 private rooms for short-stay inpatient and observation care, including four high-acuity beds. Patients will be able to access advanced, integrated services ranging from non-operative medical treatment to inpatient surgical intervention.

The site will have a dedicated facility for joint and spine care and is also slated to open a cardiac catheterization lab in early fall 2018. The site will also offer 82,000 additional square feet as well as expanded patient and visitor parking.
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Oakwood superintendent gets new 5-year deal with raise, annuity

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 9:55 AM

            Kyle Ramey, Oakwood City School District superintendent
Kyle Ramey, Oakwood City School District superintendent

Oakwood Superintendent Kyle Ramey’s new 5-year contract includes a raise, plus more than $18,000 a year into an annuity.

Ramey became Oakwood superintendent in 2013 when Mary Jo Scalzo retired after nine years in the job.

School Board President Todd Duwel said the district is supportive of Ramey’s leadership and ability to inspire his staff.

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MORE: Dayton Public Schools eyes $475k ‘turnaround program’ for 5 schools

“The Oakwood Board of Education recognizes the leadership of Dr. Ramey and his administrative team to inspire,” Duwel said. “As a board, we are fully supportive of our district leaders’ passion and commitment to the students, staff and community of Oakwood.”

Last year Ramey made $167,997.

Now, after accepting the new 5-year deal, his pay will stand at $169,997 per year. The board also will pay $18,267 annually into a tax-sheltered annuity or deferred compensation plan to a company that Ramey approves.

MORE: Oakwood superintendent: Teacher shortage puts student education at risk

He will be required to work 260 days, with 11 paid holidays and 25 vacation days, plus an added medical exam that is not covered by his health care plan.

The contract also stipulates that the superintendent’s salary and annuity payment benefit will increase by 4 percent “gross total over the preceding year’s established amounts.”

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A native of Heath, Ohio, Ramey’s first teaching job was in Graham Local Schools in Champaign County. He had been with Kettering City Schools for 20 years, serving as principal of Kettering Middle School, unit principal of Fairmont High School, director of teacher personnel and human resources director for the district.

Ramey says that addressing the issue of teacher shortages will be important for school districts.

“The key to any successful district or building is having great kids, engaged parents, supportive community and top-notch teachers,” he noted. “If educators and parents aren’t encouraging, recruiting and mentoring our own best and brightest to be teachers, how can we expect anyone else to do it for us?”

MORE: Charter school sponsor loses one school, opens up another in Dayton

Ramey says that the teaching profession doesn’t get any help from politicians.

“We certainly aren’t getting help from legislators. The use of state report cards and invalid, unreliable and inaccurate state tests to rank and to sort districts and teachers doesn’t encourage anyone to want to travel down this career path,” he said. “Add public scrutiny, a general erosion of respect for the teaching profession and so many testing requirements and teaching guidelines, even those who begin their careers in education aren’t as likely to stay throughout their professional lives.”

MORE: Kettering officer, K-9 receive awards for efforts in arrest

Other administrators in the district received a more than 3 percent raise, according to Kevin Philo, district treasurer.

“Most other administrators were approved for salary increases of 3 percent to 4 percent,” he said.

Athletic Director Laura Connor received an 8.5 percent raise and will make $101,106 in a four-year contract, and Harman Elementary School Principal Sarah Patterson received a 3.25 percent increase in salary and is slated to make $119,329.

Area school districts with highest-paid superintendents in 2016-2017 (and their enrollment)

Gail Kist-Kline, Mason City Schools superintendent: $181,290 (10,648 students)*

Paul Otten, Beavercreek City Schools superintendent: $160,900 (7,758 students)

Kyle Ramey, Oakwood City Schools superintendent: $155,324 (2,082 students)

Robert Hill, Springfield City Schools superintendent: $152,500 (7,778 students)

Anthony Orr, Hamilton City Schools superintendent: $152,250 (10,123 students)*

*Resigned this year

Source: Ohio Department of Education

Median teacher salary 2016-2017 school year

(For largest area districts and districts with highest-paid superintendents)

Oakwood City Schools: $75,984

Mason City Schools: $75,909

Huber Heights City Schools: $73,500

Beavercreek City Schools: $65,655

Kettering City Schools: $61,380

Springfield City School District: $57,343

Hamilton City Schools: $52,930

Dayton City Schools: $50,238

Ohio: $57,907

Source: Dayton Daily News analysis of Ohio Department of Education teacher salary data

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Complimentary laundry services offered to Dayton residents Saturday

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 11:04 PM

A non-profit is offering complimentary laundry services to lower-income Dayton residents on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

This service will be held At Your Service Coin Laundry located at 4755 Airway Road in Riverside, according to a release.

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Ohio State Highway Patrol Aviation Unit helps make arrests

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The Laundry Project brings renewed hope to thousands of people nationwide by providing the funds and items necessary to wash and dry clothes and linens. Fees are paid for while volunteers assist with laundry services, entertain children, and create a caring space at the laundromat.

Members of the community may donate much-needed supplies including detergent, bleach, quarters (rolls of $10), one-gallon Ziploc bags, garbage bags, coloring books, crayons, fabric softener, and laundry baskets.

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Ribbon-cutting for Good Samaritan North to be held Saturday

With the average cost of eight loads of laundry nearing $35, many families are forced to choose between paying bills and washing their clothes. To ease this expense, Currents hosts its Laundry Project to lift a burden many families experience regardless of location. In 2017, this project positively impacted 1,161 families by washing 12,442 loads of their laundry for free.

For more information about Current of Ohio or past Laundry Projects, visit

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