Charles Raymond Necessary was about five when he learned to play the violin, and by the time he was in high school in Independence, Missouri, he was an accomplished player.
One yearbook mentioned that he played at assemblies and at parent-teacher association meetings. Another said he represented William Chrisman High School in an all-district orchestra. He played in the school’s ROTC band and sometimes with the Kansas City Philharmonic. Violinist David Rubinoff, who had a nationwide radio show in the 1930s, heard the boy play when Rubinoff visited the school and praised his skill.
But music led to a fateful decision.
He quit school in 1940 in conflict with a teacher who did not like his impromptu performance of “Little Brown Jug.” The song, which celebrates gin and rum, became a hit in 1939 when big-band leader Glenn Miller recorded it.
Raymond, as he was known, enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 27, 1940, during his final year of high school. He needed his father’s permission to join because he was born May 28, 1923 — too young to enlist on his own.
He was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.
He was the son of Bryan Necessary, a stillman at an oil refinery, and Ella Long Necessary, a homemaker. She died when Raymond was about 14. His brother Dick, who served in the Army Air Corps during the war, said their mother played the violin and piano and their father the guitar.
On the 50th anniversary of Mr. Necessary’s death a classmate, Jane Mallinson, told a reporter that “he had an inquisitive mind. Raymond always wanted to know how things worked. He was perceptive, quick and witty.”
A memorial service honored him at First Baptist Church in Independence in February 1942. His high school English teacher and the pastor spoke. ROTC members served as ushers.
Sources: the Independence (Missouri) Examiner; the Kansas City (Missouri) Times; years for Chrisman High and Independence Junior HIgh; grave marker; Census; Navy muster roll; Defense Department. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.