S1c Marvin John Shugart

Unknown Sailor

S1c Marvin John Shugart

Marvin John Shugart was born Feb. 18, 1917 in minuscule and now vanished Denova, Colorado about 100 miles northeast of Denver. His father, Elmer Shugart, was a carpenter and his mother, Susan “Bea” Lee Shugart, a homemaker.

By 1920 the family, which grew to include six children, had moved west to nearby Fort Morgan, population 3,818. About 10 years later they had were 150 miles southeast in Cañon City, population 5,938, in the central part of the state.

Marvin graduated from Cañon City High School in 1936 and by 1939 lived about 75 miles south-southwest in Alamosa, where he was a clerk at the Victoria Hotel. For 52 weeks of work that year he reported earning $1,000 – the equivalent of about $21,000 in 2022 dollars.

He enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 26, 1940. He was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

When his mother heard about the attack, she started a letter to her sister in Nebraska. Mrs. Shugart said she had received a letter from Marvin two days earlier. “He was telling what all he had to be thankful for and most of all, he was thankful for his God and maker, who gave him all these blessings. It surely did do me a lot of good,” Mrs. Shugart wrote.

She continued the letter two days later. “I haven’t hardly ate nor slept since Sunday. Seems like I just can’t stand it and then I think I am only one of millions of mothers in the same fix. When he went over there, I thought it was all out of our hands, and I just turned it over to God and left him in his hands.”

It would be a few more days before the Shugarts received the Navy telegram with official news of Marvin’s death.

His three brothers — all younger — also served in the armed forces. Ronald and Boyd were in the Navy and Keith in the Air Force.

Sources: Special credit to the Canon City (Colorado) Daily Record and the Royal Gorge Regional Museum Regional Museum & History Center. Other sources include the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph; Census; Navy muster rolls; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs death file. Royal Gorge Museum photograph.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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