Waymon Boney Blount studied arts and sciences at the University of Texas at Austin in 1939-1940.
It must have seemed a world apart from where he was born and grew up in rural Grimes County, Texas about 70 miles northwest of Houston.
Mr. Blount was born March 26, 1920 to Robert O. Blount, a farmer, and Lillia Burns Blount, a homemaker. The 1930 Census identified him, then 10, and three older siblings as farm helpers. The Great Depression left 16 percent or more of the county’s residents unemployed or on government relief work by 1937.
Boney, as he was known, left the university to enlist in the Navy on Nov. 8, 1940. He played on the baseball team on the U.S.S. Arizona. A 1941 photo of the team in uniform on deck shows Boney standing next to an unidentified black player despite the strict segregation rules dating to the Wilson Administration.
The Texan was a seaman first class when he was killed on the ship in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.
At least two brothers also served in World War II — Talmadge in the U.S. Army Air Corps and Rhea in the Navy. They survived.
There is a cenotaph for Boney at Evergreen Cemetery in Grimes County. His parents are buried there.