Merrill Keith Sandall was born Jan. 28, 1922, in Yates City, Illinois. His father, Henry Lee Sandall, was a farmer and later a town road supervisor. His mother, Emma Mabel Bitner Sandall, was a homemaker.
The family included a daughter born in 1920 and another son who died at birth in 1929.
By the time of the spring 1940 Census, Keith, as he was known, was listed as a student who had completed, inexplicably, five years of high school. He worked four weeks in 1939 as a farm laborer and earned $48.
Young Mr. Sandall left Yates City, a town of 576 in the northwest part of the state, in June 1940 to enlist in the Navy.
He was a shipfitter third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. There is a cenotaph in his memory at the Yates City Cemetery, where his parents are buried.
His father was an Army private in France in World War I.
Sources: The Galesburg (Illinois) Register-Mail; Census; Navy muster roll; Army transport roll; cenotaph; grave markers. Naval History and Heritage Command photo. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.