Clayton Schenkelberg, reportedly the oldest Pearl Harbor survivor, dies at 103 – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-05-12 00:20:13 –

Believed to be America’s oldest survivor of Pearl Harbor at the age of 103, Clayton Schenkelberg died on April 14 at an elderly care facility in the College Area.

His last year, born a year before the Spanish flu hit the country, included the rush of the current pandemic, COVID-19. According to his family, he caught it, but did not get sick.

Meanwhile, he experienced one of the most fateful days in modern American history, the Attack on Pearl Harbor, which pushed the United States into World War II on December 7, 1941. Schenkelberg, a Navy torpedo soldier at a submarine base, volunteered to drive a train with underwater missiles from a Japanese plane strafing. Then he rushed to the arsenal, grabbed the rifle and began shooting back.

After the war, he stayed in the Navy for another 20 years, married, raised seven children, and eventually settled in San Diego, where he pursued his second career as a high school caretaker.

His long-standing motto: one day at a time.

“If you ask him about it, he will tell you that he is just doing what he needs to do,” his son Patrick said. “He didn’t think it was special. He had a job to do and he did it.”

Born October 17, 1917 in Carroll, Iowa, Schenkelberg knew early on the difficulties. His mother died when he was nine years old. When he was twelve, the stock market crashed, causing the Great Depression. When he was 17, his father, a livestock salesman and grain elevator operator, died in an accident.

In 1937, he followed his brother into the Navy and was sent to work on Pearl Harbor and torpedoes. His shift was just over the morning the Japanese plane attacked. He was looking forward to spending the day with his girlfriend.

Of the approximately 50,000 American soldiers on Oahu that day, about 2,400 were killed and another 1,200 were injured. Over 30 ships and hundreds of planes have been destroyed or damaged.

The survivors leaned forward, helped win the war, and continued their lives in a way that led them to be called the Greatest Generation. There is no official list of how many people are still alive.

“I think there are less than 100,” said 99-year-old Stuart Hedley, San Diego’s most active and visible survivor, who has attended lectures, school visits and parades.

The estimate is Now-Abolished Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association in San Diego. At its peak, it had nearly 600 members and was considered to be the largest branch in the country. When closed two years ago, it was believed to be the last one still in operation.

Hedley said he understands that Schenkelberg was the oldest survivor in the country. Patrick Schenkelberg said in recent years various officials have said so to him.

If so, it was the badge he wore modestly.In various ways Commemorative event, He routinely distracted himself. “We pay homage to those who haven’t succeeded yet,” he said at the USS Midway Museum in 2016 during the annual attack on Pearl Harbor.

He retired from the Navy in 1967 and worked as a caretaker at Patrick Henry High and other local schools for almost 20 years. He worked with Our Lady of the Parish of Grace in El Cahon, collecting donations and distributing food and clothing for over 30 years.

“He was an outstanding gentleman, very humble and always ready to help,” Hedley said. “I’m honored to call him a friend.”

Survivors include his children, Marlene Lutke of Cut Bank, Montana, Karen Boyle (and her husband Walter) of Round Rock, Texas, Robert Schenkelberg (Lucy) of San Diego, and Patrick Schenkelberg of San Diego (Lucy). Includes Patricia) and Carrie Harris (Spencer). ) Of San Diego; and more than 40 grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-grandchildren.

He died by his 74-year-old wife Aritea and his two sons Barry and James.

Some of his descendants followed him into the Navy. Patrick, one of his great-grandchildren, recently arranged to raise a flag in honor of Schenkelberg at various locations in Pearl Harbor, including above the submarine base where his great-grandfather worked when the attack occurred. did.

The memorial service is scheduled for May 6th at 10:30 am. Our Lady of Grace.. The family asks attendees to wear Hawaiian clothes. This is in favor of the colorful shirts that Pearl Harbor survivors have long used as uniforms for gatherings.

Hedley said he was there and led the traditional Navy farewell known as the two-bell ritual.

He has a lot of experience. When he joined the local Survivors Association in 1984, it had 358 members.

“Sadly, I rested over 350 of them,” he said.

Clayton Schenkelberg, reportedly the oldest Pearl Harbor survivor, dies at 103 Source link Clayton Schenkelberg, reportedly the oldest Pearl Harbor survivor, dies at 103

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