S1c Delmar Dale Sibley


S1c Delmar Dale Sibley

Delmar Dale Sibley was born in east-central Aurora, South Dakota, population about 240, on Dec. 30, 1917 to Harry Sibley and Ethel Teesdale Sibley. The father farmed and the mother was a homemaker.

The mother died the next December. By the time of the 1920 census, Delmar was living 75 miles southwest with an aunt and uncle, Estella Sibley Jay and James P. Jay, in Mitchell, South Dakota. He was still with them in 1930, but by then in Rapid City, South Dakota about 260 miles to the west.

In 1936 he moved to Owego in south-central New York to live with another aunt and uncle, Lucie and Earl Sibley, because the family believed he might have better job prospects there. Earl Sibley was the Owego police chief.

Delmar’s cousin, Mary Sibley Prince, told a reporter in 2007 that he had worked building roads to Mount Rushmore for the Civilian Conservation Corps, a Depression-era jobs program. He also worked nearby at the Endicott-Johnson Shoe Co., a large manufacturer of boots and shoes. The 1940 census says he was a laster — a person who shapes the upper part of a shoe. He said he worked 50 weeks in 1939 for a total income of $800 – about $17,000 in 2022 dollars.

Mr. Sibley enlisted in the Navy on Oct. 15, 1940 and was a seaman first class when he was killed on the U.S.S. Arizona in the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

His cousin recalled him as an outgoing man who liked people.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Owego dedicated its dining hall to Mr. Sibley in 2007.

Sources: Press and Sun-Bulletin of Binghamton, N.Y.; Census, South Dakota birth index; Mount Vernon, S.D. cemetery records. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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