JIM THORPE, Pa., April 23 (UPI) -- The town of Jim Thorpe, Pa., faces losing its namesake after a court decision allows Jim Thorpe's sons to return their father's body to Oklahoma, a report said.
Thorpe, an American Indian and prominent athlete in the early 20th century, died in 1953, and by arrangement with his widow Patricia, the mining towns of Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk, Pa., seeking to enlarge their visibility, offered to change their town's name and offer Thorpe a fitting tribute and final resting place.
Thus is Thorpe entombed in a red granite mausoleum in Jim Thorpe, Pa., a community he never visited while alive, The Morning Call newspaper in Allentown, Pa., reported Tuesday.
Local officials said they haven't decided if they will appeal the decision Friday of U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo, who ruled a law allowing American Indians to repatriate remains on ancestral lands takes precedence over the agreement of the town and Thorpe's widow, the newspaper said.
Son Bill Thorpe said his family, and the Sac and Fox tribe in Oklahoma, never recovered from the loss of his father's remains, which he says were to receive a traditional American Indian funeral in 1953 but were taken to Pennsylvania without the tribe's consent.
The Thorpe family has been considering possible final resting sites for Thorpe, including the Sac and Fox headquarters in Stroud, Okla., KOTV-TV, Tulsa, reported.