OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The last military Pearl Harbor survivor living in the Kansas City area has died.
According to his obituary, Dorwin F. Lamkin passed away on March 17 in Overland Park at the age of 96.
“He was in the thick of things when our country was at war,” said William “Doc” Schmitz, senior vice commander-in-chief for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “He’s going to be missed. It’s kind of like a lost book.”
A visitation/memorial will be held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, March 21, at Amos Family Funeral Home located at 10901 Johnson Dr. in Shawnee.
A picnic and burial will be held at noon Saturday, May 4, at Ridge Park Cemetery, 780 E. Yerby St., Marshall, Missouri. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Heartland Honor Flight P.O. Box 12047, Kansas City, Mo. 641052.
Lamkin was born in North Hudson, Wisconsin on October 30 1922 and on his 18th birthday in 1940 he joined the United States Navy. He was a corpsman on the USS Nevada during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. After the Japanese attack Dorwin went to Navy lab school and served on the USS San Francisco from 1943-44 at the battles of Tarawa, Kwajelein (Marshall Islands), Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Attu, Alaska.
“According to his records, we’re talking about days,” Schmitz said. “Multiple engagements over a broad period of time. He literally went from one battle, to another battle, with a little bit of a break here and there and then he’s in another one.”
He attended the University of Kansas, and was in a receiving station in San Francisco expecting to be part of the invasion force when the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending World War II. He was sent to the Philippines as a hospital lab technician, ending his 6 years of
service as a pharmacist’s mate 1st class.
He was awarded the Navy Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with six battle stars, World War II Victory Medal and Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.
As president of the Metro III Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Assn. and a Mission, Kansas resident for decades, he spearheaded the drive to create the Pearl Harbor Memorial Park, dedicated in 2004 at Martway and Maple in Mission. He was also an early major donor of the Heartland Honor Flight.
Schmitz said Lamkin’s civic spirit after the war stands as a proud legacy for all of the men and women in uniform.
“I won’t tell you how he died. I’ll tell you how he lived,” Schmitz said.
Watch the video below to see the moving ceremony from 2017 that Lamkin was recognized in on Pearl Harbor Day.