S2c Willett S. Jr. Colegrove

Willett S. Colegrove Jr. was born in Los Angeles County, California on Oct. 29, 1923. His parents were Bertha Victor Colegrove and Willett Colegrove Sr.

By 1930 the family was back in the father’s home state of Michigan and living at Grand Rapids. The father was a stock clerk at a paper company and the mother a homemaker.

They had moved to Seattle by the time the youngest of their four children, Ronald, died at the age of three in 1937.

The 1940 Census showed the family still in the Seattle area. The father worked 36 weeks the year before and earned $1,800 as an assistant to a senior officer in the Civilian Conservation Corps, a Depression-era federal jobs program. Willett Jr. was in high school in the spring of 1940 and had completed one year. He delivered newspapers the previous year, earning $90 for 40 weeks’ work.

The son enlisted in the Navy on April 23, 1941. He went aboard the U.S.S. Arizona on Dec. 5 and was killed two days later in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was a seaman second class.

His younger brother Robert served in the Navy in both World War II and Korea.

Sources: The Daily Herald of Everett, Washington; cenotaph; Census; Navy muster roll; California birth record; Washington death record. 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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