S1c Melvin Lenord Root

Melvin Root

S1c Melvin Lenord Root

Melvin Lenord Root was born Dec. 30, 1916 in Ohio, probably Youngstown about 10 miles from Pennsylvania and east of Akron. His mother, Frances Symmonds Root, was a homemaker and his father, Virgil R. Root, a carpenter and later a building contractor. They also had an older son.

By 1920 the household included the wife’s father and Youngstown had 132,000 residents. Sometime after April 1, 1935 the parents and Melvin moved about 12 miles southwest to the much smaller town of Canfield, population nearing 1,100. The spring 1940 Census said Virgil had completed two years of high school but was no longer enrolled. He worked 26 weeks in 1939 at a parking lot, earning $360.

Young Mr. Root enlisted in the Navy on Oct. 9, 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.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the attack, playwright Melisa Trickett wrote a fictionalized account of the Roots called “A Family’s Pearl Harbor.” It was performed in 2016 at Kent State University at Trumbull near Akron.


Sources: The Salem (Ohio) News; the Tribune Chronicle of Warren, Ohio; U.S. Veterans Administration; Census; Navy muster roll. 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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