Leuzinger High School Class of 1981 - Latest News
11-04-2015 - Remembering Our Veterans ~ Mark Todd Crain '78
Remembering Our Veterans...
Arizona Couple Won't See Son's Plaque When They Visit His Grave
Mark Todd Crain - Class of 1978
February 22, 1960 - July 31, 1985
By Larry Altman, Daily Breeze
Carole and Emmett Crain planned to visit their 25-year-old son's grave on a trip to the South Bay from Arizona on Wednesday.
But when they stop by the former Lawndale man's resting place at Pacific Crest Cemetery in Redondo Beach, they won't see the name Mark Todd Crain on a plaque.
Thieves pried the 18-pound bronze marker from the site last week, presumably to sell it for scrap metal.
'To me, people that do this have to be the lowest - that they would go into a cemetery and steal,' Carole Crain said.
Their son's memorial plaque was among three stolen from the graves of military veterans sometime Thursday night. Maintenance workers discovered the thefts on Friday as they mowed the grass.
'That's my son,' Carole Crain said. 'I know it's just a headstone, but that's his. It doesn't belong to anybody else.'
Police suspect the thieves want to turn the bronze in for scrap. At current prices, a bronze plaque is worth $20 to $25.
'I just think that's the most horrible thing they can do,' Carol Crain said. 'People who go into cemeteries and deface them - it's inexcusable.'
Emmett and Carole Crain moved to Lawndale in 1963 when their first-born son was 3.
Mark Crain attended Lucille J. Smith Elementary School, Rogers Junior High School and Leuzinger High School.
His mother described him as a wild and crazy Southern California boy who liked going to beach, chasing girls and bleaching his hair.
He attended El Camino College for a year and signed up for a six-year enlistment in the U.S. Navy. He was stationed on the USS Coral Sea in Norfolk, Va.
In February 1984, Mark Crain married his wife, Yvonne. Nine months later, he was diagnosed with sinus cancer.
He endured 17 hours of surgery, but it was an aggressive cancer and he died on July 31, 1985.
The Crains chose Pacific Crest Cemetery for his burial site because he played AYSO soccer at a field across the street and because it was so close to home.
The Crains retired from their jobs in the South Bay and moved south of Phoenix in 2007. They have three other sons in Phoenix, Denver and Highland, Calif.
Carole Crain is visiting a South Bay dentist on Wednesday, and had planned with her husband to stop at their son's grave.
This time will be different. His grave will be unmarked.
'We kind of know what to expect,' Emmett Crain said. 'We're a little unhappy about it, but what can you do?'
John Kirk, a Pacific Crest Cemetery official, said the Veterans Administration will pay for replacement plaques.
The thieves likely targeted veterans because the cemetery uses bronze for their memorial plaques. Most other graves have granite markers, Kirk said.
Cemetery officials did not release the names of the deceased in the other affected graves. Their families have not been located.
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