F1c Maurice Edwin Spotz

Unknown Sailor

F1c Maurice Edwin Spotz

Maurice Edwin Spotz was born Feb. 18, 1916 in Kankakee, population nearing 16,000, in northeast Illinois. His mother, Ida Nowack Spotz, was a homemaker and his father, Edward Spotz, a car repairman for a railroad. Maurice was their only child.

Both the 1934 and 1935 Kankakee High School yearbooks identified Maurice as a senior. He participated in band, swimming, the art club, and a Young Men’s Christian Association program for high school students called Hi-Y. A quote attributed to him in the ‘34 yearbook said “Chemistry developed my mental capacity.”

His father died in 1937.

The spring 1940 Census said Maurice still lived with this mother and was a mixer at a paint factory. He worked 52 weeks in 1939 and earned $1,040 — good money for a young man during the Great Depression and the equivalent of over $20,000 in 2022 dollars.

Mr. Spotz enlisted in the Navy on Oct. 8, 1940. He was a fireman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

The seniors at Kankakee named their Hi-Y club in his memory in 1943.

There is a cenotaph for Mr. Spotz at Mound Grove Cemetery in Kankakee. His parents are buried there.


Sources: Census; Navy muster roll; grave markers and cenotaph; Kankakee High School yearbooks. Yearbook 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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