On July 13, 1959, Homer Milton Conrad Sr. filled out two copies of a federal government form — the Application for Headstone or Marker. He wanted markers for two of his sons, Walter Ralph Conrad and Homer Milton Conrad Jr., both killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 17 years earlier.
The government inscribed and shipped flat granite markers to a railroad station near Crown Hill Cemetery in Orrville, Ohio.
The markers read:
In memory of Walter Ralph Conrad, Ohio, QM2, US Navy, World War II PH, Sept. 29, 1917-Dec. 7, 1941. (He was a quartermaster second class.)
In memory of Homer M. Conrad Jr., Ohio, S1, US Navy, World War II PH, March 15, 1921-Dec. 7, 1941. (He was a seaman first class.)
The brothers were killed on the U.S.S. Arizona.
Walter and Homer Jr. were the sons of Homer Milton Conrad Sr., a baggage office agent for a steam railroad, and Zola Weirick, a homemaker.
The brothers graduated from McKinley High School in Canton – Walter in 1936 and Homer in 1939. The yearbook said Walter was “the kind of fellow we all enjoy.” He was a member of the Social Science Club, a hall guard, and on the senior-class committee that planned parties. Alongside Homer’s senior photo, the yearbook included this quote: “We are never so happy nor so unhappy / As we suppose ourselves to be.” Homer was a member of the Social Science Club.
The brothers enlisted in the Navy because they needed jobs in the middle of the Great Depression.
Walter enlisted in 1936. He married Irene Strandquist in California in August 1939, and they had a son, Ralph, who was an infant when his father died. Homer Jr. enlisted in September 1939.
Sixty-nine years after the attack, Carol Conrad told a reporter he would never forget the day the family learned of his big brothers’ deaths. Carol, who was seven then, said their mother “got up and went to the kitchen and started cooking dinner. My dad went all to pieces.”
“I still miss them,” he said. “I think about them a lot.”
Sources: Special thanks to niece Melissa L. Rickey. Other sources include: The Akron (Ohio) Beacon-Journal; Santa Paula Times; The Post of Medina, Ohio; federal Application for Headstone or Marker; Census; Navy muster roll. McKinley High School yearbook photos. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.