RM3c Julian John Stopyra

Unknown Sailor

RM3c Julian John Stopyra

Julian John Stoprya was born Feb. 12, 1918 in Lawrence, Massachusetts north of Boston. His mother, Julia Napora Stopyra, was a homemaker and his father, Agustine Stopyra, a paper mill worker. The parents were Polish immigrants.

Julian attended school at Holy Trinity — a Catholic parish organized by Polish immigrants — and then at Lawrence High School.

When he enlisted in the Navy on March 25, 1940, young Mr. Stopyra said he had no occupation. But he also supplied an employer reference that said he worked four years as a “finished hand” at a paper cutter, Champion International Paper Co.

Mr. Stopyra was a radioman and petty officer third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

After the war a Polish-American Veterans Post was organized in Lawrence and named in honor of Mr. Stopyra. The post sold its building in late 2018 but continued to hold events. In its heyday, its weekend dances and other activities attracted hundreds.

On the 65th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Mr. Stopyra’s youngest sister, Stella, said he was the favorite of his mother’s six children and was a “happy, joking boy.” Just before he died, he wrote home that he’d bought a swimsuit for Stella for Christmas. It never arrived, but she imagined it decorated with hula girls and palm trees.


Sources: The Lawrence (Massachusetts) History Center; The Eagle-Tribune of North Andover, Massachusetts; Navy enlistment papers; Lawrence city directory; Navy muster roll; Census; Lawrence public library. Editor’s note: His father’s name is spelled as Augustine in some documents, but he signed it as Agustine. Photo from the Lawrence History Center. 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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