The last surviving member of On-The-Roof Gang member passes.
A 101 year old retired Navy Captain, World War II veteran, and former World War II prisoner of war (POW), passed peacefully from this life on March 11, 2020.
Harold grew up on a small farm in Washington State and joined the Navy when he was 18. He attended radio school in Washington, DC to become a code breaker, making him a member of the On The Roof Gang. He married Marie, whose family had a farm near Harold’s family farm, and together they went to Guam. Marie left Guam before WWII started, but Harold remained and was captured by the Japanese shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Harold spent almost four years as a POW in the Zentsuji prison camp, laboring and helping his fellow prisoners.
After the war, Harold returned to the States and resumed his life with Marie. His only child, Sandra, was born, and Harold continued in a long and successful Navy career, rising through the ranks and serving at sea and abroad. He retired as a Navy Captain and moved to Bethesda, MD after nearly 40 years of service.
In retirement, Harold enjoyed serving his church and homeowners’ board, walking, golfing, studying and visiting with family and friends. Throughout life, to the very end, he was quick with a joke, and a laugh, and a helping hand.
Harold spent some of his later years caring for Marie as she struggled with Alzheimer’s. He lived on his own until he was 92, then spent five years in assisted living near his grandson’s family in McLean, VA, finally moving to an assisted living home in Ann Arbor, MI, where he lived close to his daughter, and where they were able to spend time together during his final years.
Harold is survived by his daughter, two grandsons and their wives, and four great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Marie and his oldest grandson.
Harold was a friend and mentor to many, and he will be remembered, loved, and celebrated always by the people whose lives he touched.
Harold will join Marie in Arlington National Cemetery, where he will be buried with full military honors later this year.
Published in The Washington Post on Apr. 12, 2020