Northern Michigan Veteran Returns Home

Northern Michigan Veteran - Home after 75 Years


Army Technician 4th Grade Peter M. Counter, killed during World War II was officially identified and determined to be Peter M. Counter on August 2, 2017. Peter was a member of Company C, 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division when he was killed on December 5, 1942, at the age of 24, during an intense engagement with Japanese forces in the vicinity of Soputa on the Sanananda Track in whast is present-day Papua New Guinea. At the time of his death Tec 4 Peter Counter was hastily buried in an isolated grave north of Soputa, but in April of 1943 was moved to an Australian and United States military cemetery located in Soputa. At the end of the war, the bodies were exhumed from the military cemetery and reinterred elsewhere. Peter Mason Counter was born on January 25, 1918 presumably in the Onaway area where his family had a farm. He was the son of John and Vivian Counter and had two brothers, Glenn W. and John “Lee” and two sisters, Dorothy Counter and Lavina Dzieglawski, all now deceased. Peter’s only living relatives are nieces and nephews. He is survived by his nephews, Robert Dzieglawski, John Counter, Jr. and namesake, Peter Counter; and nieces Lavina Kollias, Sarah Dzieglawski, Suzy LaPorte, and Vanetta Olson. Peter’s final resting place will be at Elmwood Cemetery in Onaway with his parents; brother, Glenn; sister, Dorothy; as well as his grandparents, Sarah and Levi Rivers; and uncle, Oakley Rivers. Peter’s niece, Lavina Kollias, was contacted by the Army in 2012. They found her through genealogy research and asked her to submit a DNA sample for comparison as they believed they had found her uncle, Peter Counter. Lavina’s mother, Lavina Dzieglawski, who was a sister to Peter, was still living at that time, so both mother and daughter submitted DNA, anxious to learn the results. Unfortunately, Lavina passed away in 2014 before Peter was positively identified. Kollias believes Peter was living near Kalamazoo when he enlisted in the Army. She knows very little about Peter because he died before she was born. Kollias remembers her mother saying Peter was funny and liked to joke around. Funeral services for Tec 4 Peter M. Counter will be on Veteran’s Day, Saturday November 11, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at the Chagnon Funeral Home in Onaway with full military honors following at Elmwood Cemetery, 21475 M-68 Highway, Onaway, Michigan. Peter’s nieces and nephews will receive friends at Chagnon Funeral Home from 11:00 a.m. until the time of the funeral at 1:00 p.m. and invite the public to attend to honor this American hero lost 75 years ago.