Monticello family buries remains of World War II veteran killed at Pearl Harbor

After 82 years, the family of a Monticello man who died in the attack at Pearl Harbor is finally getting to bury their loved one.
Published: Mar. 25, 2023 at 10:49 PM CDT
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MONTICELLO, Iowa (KCRG) - After 82 years, the family of a Monticello World War II Navy member who died during the attack at Pearl Harbor finally had the chance to bury their loved one.

Navy Seaman First Class Donald Stott was killed when Japanese forces attacked his ship, the USS Oklahoma.

“He’s finally home to rest with his family,” Tom Brokaw, Stott’s nephew, said.

Stott was 19 years old when he and 429 people service members were killed on the USS Oklahoma. At the time, his remains could not be identified. He was buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl. Stories were all his family had left.

“He was a rascal,” Gertrude O’Leary, Stott’s niece, said. “He was a very fun-loving young man.”

In 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency exhumed all unknown remains from Stott’s ship. They started analyzing DNA and contacting families. It was work that Tom’s wife, Jill, took the lead on until Stott’s remains were officially identified in 2021.

“There was a lot of communication,” Jill said. “We thank the Navy for everything they’ve done to help, but we had sent them DNA.”

Honoring Stott’s life and service in his hometown took decades of work.

“He’s not buried too far from my mother and his other nieces,” Tom said. “He’s back home.”

For his family, it was work that showed how important it was to honor those who have served their country and those who continue to do so.

“Having gone through this experience memorializing him, it reminds people of the value that servicemen have provided for our country,” Lawrence O’Leary said. “It makes me appreciate all the freedoms they have achieved for us.”