S1c Jessie Zimmer Miller


S1c Jessie Zimmer Miller

The parents of Jessie Zimmer Miller and George Stanley Miller were celebrating their 37th anniversary when their sons were killed at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Because of the party, the family did not have the radio on and did not know for several hours that Japanese war planes had attacked Hawaii.

The brothers enlisted in the Navy on Oct. 7, 1940, and were assigned to the U.S.S. Arizona. Both were seamen first class when they died. They were so close that when one wrote a letter home to their parents in Marysville, Ohio about 30 miles northwest of Columbus, both always signed it.

The Miller boys left school after 8th grade to work. As for most families, the 1930s were difficult. The family struggled as farmers, as hired farm hands, and in the gas station and repair shop owned by an older brother, Frank. The 1940 Census showed Frank, father Harley, Jessie,  and Stanley — as George Stanley was known — all working 52 weeks the previous year for $0 income.

Jessie, born July 8, 1913, and Stanley, born Sept. 9, 1920, attended Watkins School near Marysville. 

A niece, Mary Vogt, told the Columbus Dispatch many years later a story she heard about her grandmother, Mary Miller. Mrs. Miller would go on Memorial Day to drop flowers into a nearby creek. Her hope was that they would flow into a river and and then into the ocean and then to the gravesite of her sons in the sunken remains of the Arizona. She outlived them by 12 years.

There are cenotaphs for the Miller brothers at Fairview Cemetery in nearby Ostrander, Ohio. Their parents are buried there.


Sources: Marysville (Ohio) Evening Journal Tribune; The Marion (Ohio) Star; The Cincinnati Enquirer; The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch; grave markers; Census; Navy muster rolls. 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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