Veterans

Family Legacy of MIlitary and Funeral Service

At Symonds-Madison Funeral Home, caring for our fellow comrades in arms and their families is an honor and a privilege. We take care to ensure every veteran receives the honors and benefits they so rightfully earned by serving our country.

Daniel Symonds is a second-generation licensed Funeral Director and U.S. Army Reservist, following in his father’s footsteps of military and funeral service.

In addition to working in funeral service for his entire life, Daniel has served a total of five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He joined the U.S. Army Reserve following the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.

Daniel has also served his country through training missions around the world, including: Panama, Germany, Korea and Malaysia.

Daniel is currently a First Sergeant for U.S. Army Reserve Public Affairs.

Daniel is proud to have come from a long line of military service, dating back to the Civil War, starting with his Great-Great Grandfather, Private Daniel Rufus Symonds of the Union Army, who he is named after. His family has had a member serve in every major war since the Civil War.

Military Honors for Great-Great Grandfather

In 2011, Daniel decided to research the life of his namesake, his great-great grandfather Daniel Rufus Symonds. After some research, he discovered his great-great grandfather was buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave in Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois, just two miles from Daniel’s U.S. Army Reserve Unit.

Family lore claimed Daniel Rufus Symonds was a “Boy General” during the Civil War, and Daniel and his father Irving traveled to Washington, D.C. to investigate. They visited the Library of Congress to search military records. There Daniel found Daniel Rufus’ enlistment papers, service cards and discharge paperwork, along with some letters from his great-great grandmother requesting a widow’s pension.

Although the rumors of a generalship were proven unfounded, Daniel did discover his ancestor served with the 20th Maine, Company K, during the Civil War. According to the records, Daniel Rufus Symonds was present for the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.
With this documentation, Daniel was able to petition the U.S. Army to have his great-great grandfather moved to a federal cemetery next to his great-great grandson and Daniel’s brother, John Scott Symonds.

Daniel’s request was granted, and on the 146th Anniversary of General Lee’s surrender, April 9, 2011, Daniel Rufus Symonds was reinterred with military honors (which he never received at his first burial), at Fort Sheridan Cemetery in Highwood, Illinois.

For the occasion, Daniel ordered a set of dress blues for his father, Irving R. Symonds, Jr., who had never owned a pair. The day Daniel presente the blues was one of the few times he had ever seen his father cry.

Irving passed away the following year, in 2012, and is now buried at Fort Sheridan Cemetery next to his son and great grandfather.

 

Symonds-Madison Funeral Home launched Operation LOVE in February 2020, a project to connect volunteers with local veterans in-need throughout Chicagoland.

The VA does not provide any benefits to pay for cremation or an urn but does provide a final resting place for the cremated remains of veterans.

The basic military funeral honors ceremony consists of the folding and presentation of the United States flag and the playing of Taps.