S1c Thomas George Powell

Unknown Sailor

S1c Thomas George Powell

Thomas George Powell was born July 17, 1922 in La Salle in north-central Illinois. His mother, Pearl George Powell, was born in the area and a homemaker. His father, Thomas Herbert Powell, was an English immigrant and a coal miner.

The mother, 24, died when the boy was two and he went to live with his paternal grandparents in nearby Oglesby. When the grandmother’s health failed, he moved about 40 miles north-northwest to live with an aunt and uncle in Dixon, home shortly before to the young Ronald Reagan from 1920 to 1924.

Mr. Powell attended Dixon High School and played basketball there but quit in October 1940 to enlist in the Navy.

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.

His grandmother’s poor health soon worsened and she died on March 4, 1942.

A cenotaph in Mr. Powell’s memory is at Oakwood Cemetery in La Salle. His mother and grandparents are buried there.


Sources: The Dixon (Illinois) Evening Telegraph; the Morning Star of Rockford, Illinois; Census; Navy muster roll; cemetery records; WWII draft registration card, Illinois birth record. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

NOTE: If you are a family member related to this crew member of the U.S.S. Arizona, or have additional information, pictures or documents to share about his life or service to our county please contact us through our FAMILY MEMBER SUBMISSION FORM