Robert Eugene Clarke left high school in Great Bend, Kansas, in January 1940 to enlist in the Navy.
Mr. Clarke, born Oct. 9, 1920, in Pittsburg, Kansas, was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
He had worked 20 weeks in 1939 in the meat department at Star Grocery and earned $200. His father, G.H., a meat cutter, took home $1,200 for 52 weeks of work. Their combined income — equal to about $26,600 in 2019 dollars — supported their household of four, which also included Robert’s mother, Mae McCoy Clarke, a homemaker, and his sister, Virginia, a student.
Sources: The Great Bend (Kansas) Tribune; the Hutchison (Kansas) News; Census; Navy muster roll; grave markers. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.