Joseph Bajorims was born May 5, 1918, in Chicago Heights, Illinois. His father, Joseph Bajorinas, was a chemical plant laborer and his mother, Rose Bukowska Bajorinas, a homemaker.
The parents were immigrants — the father from Lithuania and the mother from Poland. It isn’t clear why Joseph spelled his last name as Bajorims. His brothers kept the father’s spelling.
Mr. Bajorims completed 9th grade at Bloom High School in Chicago Heights. The 1940 Census, conducted in the spring, said he was newly employed as a shipping helper at a paint factory.
He enlisted in the Navy on Oct. 8, 1940. Mr. Bajorims was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
His brothers Casimir and John, both younger, served in the Army and Coast Guard, respectively, during World War II.