Quinlan residents welcome home World War II pilot remains

QUINLAN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The remains of Army Pilot Frank Ardith Norris returned to Quinlan on April 22, 2022, 79 years after his bomber was shot down over Eastern Europe during World War 2.

Quinlan’s historic downtown is gearing up tonight to welcome a hero.

Quinlan resident Brian Spindle said: “These small towns, that’s what they do.

Frank Ardith Norris went missing nearly eight decades after his plane was shot down during World War II.

American flags and signs are in memory of Frank Ardith Norris. Norris is a native of Quinlan, joined the Army and became a bomber pilot. His plan was shot down in Romania in 1943. Norris was 23 years old at the time.

Frank Ardith Norris, top left, stands with the other pilots.

Quinlan ISD via Facebook

His remains were recently exhumed, and DNA testing last year finally allowed his family to take them home on a flight that landed today at DFW Airport.

“When you have a family that’s been missing for so long, I’m pretty sure they’re… very grateful.” Laura Kennemer was one of dozens of Quinlan residents who waited as an ambulance-led procession surrounded the hearse carrying Norris’ coffin to a local funeral home through town.

Frank Ardith Norris, left, stands in front of an airplane.

Quinlan ISD via Facebook

“I’ve lived here most of my life and I just want to see people come out and realize that we have people who have done so much for one country and now they’re going to be closer together,” Kennemer said.

Shonda Smith, another Quinlan resident, said, “Just thinking about it gives me chills.”

Herbert Raff hit the road 10 miles on his own and was one of the first to watch the procession. He was a Vietnam veteran who was lucky enough to come home alive after that war. “I’m out here to honor the man who gave more than I did, gave more.”

Hundreds of people are expected to attend Norris’ public funeral on April 30.

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