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Lawsuit Next Step In Dispute Over Jim Thorpe’s Final Resting Place

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Jim Thorpe is arguably the greatest athlete in American history. Jim Thorpe is arguably the greatest athlete in American history.
Thorpe was laid to rest in Pennsylvania. His oldest son says according to Native American tradition, Thorpe's soul will not be at peace until he is reburied with his relatives in Prague. Thorpe was laid to rest in Pennsylvania. His oldest son says according to Native American tradition, Thorpe's soul will not be at peace until he is reburied with his relatives in Prague.
Krystyn Thomas, Jim Thorpe's great-granddaughter, is not involved with the potential lawsuit. She says she'll support whatever decision the courts make, but understands why her relatives want to see Thorpe come back to his place of birth. Krystyn Thomas, Jim Thorpe's great-granddaughter, is not involved with the potential lawsuit. She says she'll support whatever decision the courts make, but understands why her relatives want to see Thorpe come back to his place of birth.

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

PAYNE COUNTY -- The family of legendary Oklahoma athlete Jim Thorpe says it will sue to get his body returned to the Sooner State. Thorpe is buried in a Pennsylvania town in which he never set foot.

His relatives have spent the past several decades trying to get Thorpe's remains returned to Oklahoma. Their efforts have been unsuccessful, so now they are threatening legal action.

"It's really amazing. I think more than anything, people just don't believe me. They're like 'you don't look Indian enough,’" said Krystyn Thomas, Jim Thorpe's great-granddaughter.

Krystyn Thomas is the great-granddaughter of Jim Thorpe, arguably the greatest athlete in American history. She lives in Chicago, but understands just how much the baseball, football and Olympic star means to the Sooner State.

"From the time you come into Oklahoma, it's Jim Thorpe and Will Rogers," said Krystyn Thomas.

But the famed athlete was laid to rest in Pennsylvania after a town there agreed to rename itself Jim Thorpe, and built a monument to the legend. His oldest son says according to Native American tradition, Thorpe's soul will not be at peace until he is reburied with his relatives in Prague.

Linda Cleveland-Frick runs the Jim Thorpe home in Yale, the only house he ever owned.

"It bothers me. I don't know how many more it bothers, but I don't think it's right that he should be in Pennsylvania," said Linda Cleveland-Frick, Jim Thorpe Home Curator.

While the Thorpe home is a monument to his accomplishments, Cleveland-Frick believes Oklahoma deserves to have its native son returned.

"Truly, it would be an asset to Oklahoma to have him come home," said Linda Cleveland-Frick.

Thomas is not involved with the potential lawsuit. She says she'll support whatever decision the courts make, but understands why her relatives want to see Thorpe come back to his place of birth.

"If that's what it has to come to make everything feel right with my uncles, then that's what it has to come to," said Krystyn Thomas.

The suit is expected to be filed later in November. 

Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania's mayor says the athlete is the heart and soul of his town, and he “could never consider losing him.”

 

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