Richard Everett Ellis was 15 and his brother George Ellis Jr. was 16 when their mother died in August 1937.
Nina Davis Ellis, a homemaker, and George Ellis Sr., an operator of steam boilers, had older children who were off on their own. But when Nina Ellis died at an Omaha, Nebraska, hospital, the household still included the teen boys and two daughters, ages 4 and one month.
George Jr., born Oct. 31, 1920, enlisted in the Navy in February 1938. Richard, born May 8, 1922, attended Technical High School, then followed his brother into the Navy in January 1941.Both were assigned to the U.S.S. Arizona and were at Pearl Harbor the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan attacked. Richard, a seaman first class, was killed. George, a ship’s cook and petty officer first class, survived. He served throughout World War II, including on an aircraft carrier, the Shangri-La, during the time it launched air attacks against the Japanese mainland in 1945. He lived to age 81.