Thank you guys for asking about the Pearl Harbor story! My friend's name was W. Johns Ingram and although both he and his brother have Findagrave memorials, unfortunately only his brother's includes an obituary. Someone really needs to fix this. www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg....Rid=87260765&df=all&
Mr. Ingram was one of the most cheerful and helpful people ever, so much so that the church once threw an appreciation party at which his friends and relatives spoke. His brother told a very affecting account of how frightened he was once to see Johns roll a combine during harvest, and a hunting buddy told a deer hunting adventure, but I never remember hearing the Pearl Harbor story till his funeral. Someone read the transcript of a talk he gave in the 1950s. The main details were, Johns joined the Navy in 1939 as I recall, and was stationed at Pearl Harbor. On the morning of December 7, some errand called him away from his ship and he was only near (within talking distance of) one guy. He and the guy saw planes coming in and Johns said, "Gee, bombing run practice on a Sunday. They never did that
before." When the planes were closer, Johns said, "Gee, using live bombs so close to the ships. They never did that
before." His talk continued with some remark such as, "to show how clueless a person can be," they continued to stand there until the planes drew quite close and Johns said, "I don't recognize the insignia on those planes. What are they?" His friend said, "Those are Japanese." They both jumped, as Johns said, luckily in opposite directions, because if they would have jumped the same way and run into each other, both would have been hit by enemy fire! As it turned out, he survived but everyone else on his ship was killed.
Johns passed away at age 89. His manner of death was, his wife had passed away shortly before (you can see on the stone how close together the dates are) and he was at his daughter's home. He had farmed all his life and was not happy with helping his daughter inside. Wanting to work outside with the men, he went out to help dig a ditch and suffered a heart attack. A police officer gave him CPR all the way into town but he did not survive. The end was quick with no slow decline and he joined his beloved wife. He is very much missed. On the anniversary on Sunday I estimated 10 people at most in church (of an attendance of 64) who might remember 1941, only one of whom admitted it, and none of whom were old enough to be veterans. Needless to say, when I started 45 years ago you could not have swung a cat in the place without hitting a WWII vet.