GM3c Howard Dale Royer


GM3c Howard Dale Royer

Howard Dale Royer was born Nov. 8, 1918 at Suffield Township just east of Akron in northeast Ohio. His mother, Anna Kromer Royer, was a homemaker and his father, Charles, a farmer. Howard was the oldest of their three sons.

He graduated from Suffield High School, where he was a center on the football team and also played basketball. Years later, a classmate remembered Howard as “very energetic, a good athlete, just a plain country boy.”

The spring 1940 Census said he was a pressman at Monarch Rubber Co. He worked 35 weeks in 1939 and earned $700. His brother Franklin also worked there, as did the woman who would become his wife.

Howard enlisted in the Navy on Sept. 9, 1940 and went aboard the U.S.S. Arizona in December.

He married Esther Kleckner at Yuma, Arizona on June 21, 1941 while the battleship was on a two-week visit to its home port at San Pedro, California. Yuma was a popular place for sailors to marry because it was within driving distance and, unlike California, Arizona had no waiting period to marry.

Mr. Royer was a gunner’s mate and petty officer third class when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

Franklin Royer also served in World War II. He was in the Army from January 1943 through January 1946.

The youngest brother, Willard “Pete,” born in 1928, worked for a decade to have a cenotaph honoring Howard placed in Suffield. He finally succeeded in 1988, and the marker was dedicated on Memorial Day at the cemetery in Atwater township where their parents are buried.

Esther Kleckner Royer, who remarried after the war, attended the ceremony. When they dated, she remembered, “We used to laugh from the time we went out till we came back.”

Sources: The Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal; The Alliance Review of Atwater, Ohio; Arizona marriage license; Census; Navy muster rolls; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs death file. 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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