GM3c Robert Lawrence Spreeman

Unknown Sailor

GM3c Robert Lawrence Spreeman

Robert Lawrence Spreeman was born Sept. 18, 1920 to Albert and Ida May Spreeman. The father was a German immigrant and worked as a laborer and as an assembler in an auto factory. His mother was a homemaker.

In January 1920 the family lived in Lansing, Michigan but in June 1926 when the son was still five, the father died of cancer in tiny Dollarville, Michigan immediately west of Newberry in the eastern reaches of the Upper Peninsula. The widow then worked as a grocery clerk.

Robert served two years 150 miles to the west in Crystal Falls, Michigan in the Civilian Conservation Corps, a Depression-era federal jobs program. He joined the Navy on Nov. 8, 1939 out of Newberry, population 2,732, in the eastern reaches of the Upper Peninsula.

He was a gunner’s mate and petty officer third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. He is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at the Punchbowl in Honolulu.

In addition to his mother, he was survived by four sisters and three brothers.


Sources: Special thanks to relative Terri L. Hollister of Newberry for much of this information and the photograph. Other sources include: Michigan death certificate, U.S. Census, grave marker. 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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