James William Brune was born on Dec. 31, 1917 in St. Louis, Missouri. His father, Henry Brune, worked at a shoe factory and his mother, Amalia Thekla Hoeing Brune, was a homemaker.
Known as Jimmy to his family, the son graduated from South Side Catholic, an all-boys high school in St. Louis.
The 1940 Census identified him as an office boy at a company that manufactured oil-well supplies. He earned $1,250 for 52 weeks of work the previous year. That’s equal to nearly $23,000 in 2020. It was a good job for a high-school graduate during the Great Depression.
Mr. Brune enlisted in the Naval Reserve for four years as a V3 communications specialist on Sept. 7, 1940. He was a radioman third class and thus a petty officer – a non-commissioned officer – on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
A younger sister, Lucille, enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps in May 1943. She became a sergeant.
Sources: The St. Louis (Missouri) Star and Times; the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Census; Navy muster roll; Army enlistment record. Navy photo. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.