Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Another Tragedy at Pearl Harbor

Today marks a day of remembrance for those who lost their lives in the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But I write of another event that occurred on December 6.

It was 1962. In Honolulu, a sailor aboard the destroyer escort USS Willhoite fell from a ladder and hit an angle iron. As a result of the fall, that young man, just 19 years old, lost a precious sense—his sight. That sailor was my brother, Archie Anthony Neil “Tony” Sherrell.

I was only 6 years old at the time. I do not remember how my family learned the news. And we never talked about it. I never asked my mother about it. When I was in Texas recently and could have talked with my brother Arny about it, I didn’t. It just seems like it would be too painful.

What I do know I learned from this newspaper article:

"Aeromedical Groups Hauls 100,000th," Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 1 Feb 1963,
p. 10, col. 7; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 27 Mar  2010).

Tony went on to live a full life. He married and raised a family. He earned a degree in social work from Pacific Lutheran University. He worked as a Veterans Affairs counselor for those with visual impairment and lectured for the National Federation of the Blind. He sold talking computers in the early 1980s and later sold antiques. He traveled. I have wonderful memories of the times we spent together.

Tony died on 8 October 2001; his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii, the islands he loved.

My hero, my brother—

Archie Anthony Neil "Tony" Sherrell with his wife Bonnie.
Digital image; original held by Jennifer Spurlock, [ADDRESS WITHHELD
FOR PRIVACY], McKinney, Texas, 2011.

 © 2011 Denise Spurlock

1 comment:

  1. This story conjures up every emotion. Your brother is a shining example that a tragedy doesn't mean one's life is over. I can tell you are proud of all that he accomplished.