S1c Wayne Harold Presson

Unknown Sailor

S1c Wayne Harold Presson

Wayne Harold Presson was born March 19, 1918 in Hollow Rock, Tennessee, then a town of 200 about 85 miles west of Nashville. His mother, Lillian Cleaver Presson, was a homemaker and his father, Samuel Presson, a railroad car repairman. The mother, 22, died of pneumonia and influenza following a miscarriage in March 1920. She also left behind a one-year-old daughter.

The father married Brooxie Wilson in November 1921. By 1930 the family had moved to Barberton, Ohio on the southwest outskirts of Akron. Both parents worked at a rubber plant, probably in Akron, and by April 1935 had moved into the city.

The spring 1940 Census said Wayne Harold was no longer in high school but had completed two years and worked for 39 weeks in 1939, earning $505 as a laborer at a sand and gravel operation. He enlisted in the Navy on Sept. 9, 1940.

Mr. Presson 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.

The high school Mr. Presson attended was Springfield just east of Akron in Lakemore. He was a center on the football team.

Another sailor killed on the Arizona, Peter Dean Ott, attended the same school, though he was four years younger than Mr. Presson. Mr. Ott enlisted in the Navy on Oct. 9, 1940 — a week in which 20 Akron-area men signed up. Both Mr. Presson and Mr. Ott went aboard the Arizona on Dec. 4, 1940. They are jointly honored on a plaque at the Springfield school.

Another of those 20 enlistees, Howard Dale Royer, also died on the Arizona.


Sources: The Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal; theSuburbanite.com; Census; Navy muster roll; Tennessee death certificate and grave marker; Tennessee marriage record; Veterans Administration. 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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