SM3c John Stanley Malinowski

Unknown Sailor

SM3c John Stanley Malinowski

John Stanley Malinowski was likely born in Muskegon, Michigan, but when is uncertain. His father was Stanley Malinowski and his mother Jennie Krol Malinowski. They were Polish immigrants and married with her mother’s consent on Oct. 16, 1922 in Muskegon – a year after their son’s stated birth on Oct. 23, 1921 as shown on Dept. of Defense records.

In April 1930 the census lists younger siblings Stanley, Jennie, and Edward as living 40 miles east in Plainfield with their mother’s parents. That would have been a little over a year after the birth of Edward, the youngest child. Whether their mother was still alive is uncertain.

As of April 7, 1940, the U.S. census said the father, the three sons, and the daughter again lived in Muskegon and had done so since at least April 1, 1935. The father worked at a foundry. Whether the father was married or widowed isn’t clear. John is shown as age 16 as of his last birthday, which would have been in 1923 if he was born on October 23. That’s the date shown for the birth of Stanley Jr. in his 2014 obituary, but the 1940 census says he was 14. That’s consistent with the 1942 registration card in which he says he was born June 15, 1925.

In any event, John Stanley enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1940. He attended signal school in San Diego, then transferred to the U.S.S. Arizona in February 1941. Mr. Malinowski was a signalman and petty officer third class on the battleship when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

His youngest brother, Edward, told the Muskegon Chronicle in 1991 that the family was first told that he was missing. Then, in January 1942, the Navy said he was wounded but alive. He’d been confused with a sailor named Malaski, Edward said. A third telegram to the family delivered the terrible news that John Stanley was dead.

Edward is apparently the source of Chronicle reports that his brother the sailor “left school early and lied about his age to join the service.”

The father was an Army private from March 1918 to August 1919 during World War I.


Sources: the Muskegon (Michigan) Chronicle; Michigan marriage record; Census; Navy muster rolls; grave marker. Mr. Malinowski’s name is a source of some confusion. Navy records say he was John Stanley. But when his brother “John S.” died in 2014, his obituary said his brother’s name was Stanley and said nothing about the Stanley John Jr. in the 1940 records. 

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