Unknown Sailor

F3c Emory Lowell Eaton

Emory Lowell Eaton was not yet three months old when his mother died on Christmas Eve 1918.

Minta Belle Whaley Eaton died of pneumonia and the flu epidemic that swept the world starting that fall. It killed an estimated 50 million people and hit especially hard among young adults such as Mrs. Eaton, who was 27.

She was survived by her husband James, by Emory, and by another young son and daughter.

Emory was born Sept. 27, 1918, in Neodesha in southeastern Kansas. In 1937 he graduated from Climax High School about 60 miles east of Wichita. As with so many people during the Depression, it appears that he had trouble finding work. The 1940 census showed him unemployed and living with his father in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

He enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 4, 1940. Mr. Eaton was a fireman third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

The American Legion organized a service in his honor at the high school in February 1942.

His brother, Leslie, also served in the Navy, from 1943 to 1945.

Sources: The Emporia (Kansas) Gazette, Neodesha Register, Selective Service registration, the National Archives, headstone application for military veterans. 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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