WO(PYCLK) John Ervin Jr. Lake

Unknown Sailor

WO(PYCLK) John Ervin Jr. Lake

John Ervin Lake Jr. left behind a widow and two small sons — one he never met — when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

Mr. Lake was a pay clerk, warrant officer, and assistant to the supply officer on the U.S.S. Arizona. His battle station was at the coding board.

He was survived by his widow, Dorothy, and sons John, 4, and Martin, a baby.

Mr. Lake was born on Oct. 22, 1910 in Chicago to John and Clara Belle Barron Lake. John Sr. was a lawyer and Clara a homemaker. 

By 1914 the family had moved to Iowa and by June 1917 was living in Grinnell, Iowa 50 miles east of Des Moines. By January 1920 they were 30 miles south in Oskaloosa in Mahaska County. Clara died there of a malignancy when John Jr. was 12. By 1925 the father had remarried but the family was still in Mahaska County.

He enlisted in the Navy on April 13, 1928 and re-enlisted on Oct. 22, 1937.

After his death, a destroyer escort, the U.S.S. Lake (DE 301), was named in his honor. It was commissioned in February 1944 and served throughout the Pacific. The ship earned two battle stars. It was sold for scrap in 1946.

Mr. Lake’s father also served in the military, according to his 1917 World War I draft card. He was an infantry private for three years.


Sources: San Pedro (California) News Pilot; Southeast Economist of Chicago; Census, Navy muster roll; Illinois birth certificate; Iowa death record; WWI draft registration; Naval History &  Heritage Command. 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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