After 78 Years, Pasadena WWII Navy Veteran Receives Posthumous Memorial Day Honors, Buried With Family

After nearly 78 years after being killed in Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Oklahoma, U.S. Navy Seaman 1st Class John Albert Karli remains are carried to be buried at the Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, Ca., on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Photography by JAMES CARBONEA photograph of U.S. Navy Seaman 1st Class John Albert Karli is on display at the Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, Ca., on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Photography by JAMES CARBONEAfter nearly 78 years after being killed in Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Oklahoma, U.S. Navy Seaman 1st Class John Albert Karli remains are carried to be buried at the Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, Ca., on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Photography by JAMES CARBONEAfter nearly 78 years after being killed in Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Oklahoma, U.S. Navy Seaman 1st Class John Albert Karli remains are carried to be buried at the Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, Ca., on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Photography by JAMES CARBONEFamily members of U.S. Navy Seaman 1st Class John Albert Karli watch as NOSC LA fold the U.S. flag that covered the casket of John Albert Karli during the funeral ceremony at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena. Photography by JAMES CARBONEFamily members of U.S. Navy Seaman 1st Class John Albert Karli watch as NOSC LA fold the U.S. flag that covered the casket of John Albert Karli during the funeral ceremony at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena. Photography by JAMES CARBONEMarilyn Long the niece of U.S. Navy Seaman 1st Class John Albert Karli is given the U.S. flag during the funeral ceremony at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena. Photography by JAMES CARBONEDavid Snyder the nephew of U.S. Navy Seaman 1st Class John Albert Karli places his hand on his uncle\'s casket during the funeral ceremony Photography by JAMES CARBONEU.S. flags are placed at the grave of Albert Karli and Hildur Rudin, the parents of U.S. Navy Seaman 1st Class John Albert Karli, who will buried next to his parents. Photography by JAMES CARBONEMarilyn Long the niece and David Snyder the nephew of U.S. Navy Seaman 1st Class John Albert Karli pay their respects at a picture of their uncle. Photography by JAMES CARBONE

By DONNA BALANCIA | Photography by JAMES CARBONE

4:38 am | May 26, 2019


After decades of lying in anonymity in a mass military graveyard, U.S. Navy Seaman First Class John Albert Karli of Pasadena will finally spend Memorial Day with his family.

Karli, who as a young man was killed in the bombing of Pearl Harbor, was buried besides his parents last month at Mountain View Cemetery. It took 78 years, but his family never gave up and was identified through DNA, and brought home to rest beside his mother and father.

“We will especially be remembering John Albert Karli for Memorial Day,” said Denny Dormody, funeral director for Mountain View Cemetery. “We know what it’s like to be home, finally, and for him, it’s especially poignant.”

Karli, a Pearl Harbor veteran had been interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, where he was buried alongside other unidentified military men. He was among more than 400 men who died while aboard the USS Oklahoma in the attack by Japanese forces on Dec. 7, 1941.

Karli’s remains were identified recently through the use of DNA samples tested by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System. His family submitted samples to the Family Reference Database for future use in the identification of their uncle. DNA science and genealogical advancements enabled his identification.

Karli came home to a hero’s welcome at Mountain View on May 1 in a ceremony that was attended by his family and service men and women representing all branches of the military.

Karli attended the San Marino school system from kindergarten through the third grade. Karli was born on June 25, 1922 to Hildur Rudin and Albert Karli, who moved to Pasadena in 1930 from La Jolla, where they had emigrated from Sweden years before. He attended the McKinley school through the eighth grade and graduated from John Muir High School in 1940.

Karli was an athlete and played catcher and was co-captain for the John Muir High School varsity baseball team. He also played on the Pasadena Junior College baseball team.

Karli finished his Navy training on Sept. 19, 1940 and reported for duty to the USS Oklahoma on Oct. 5, 1940. On Dec. 7, 1941, the ship was hit by multiple torpedoes and sank, killing 429 sailors and marines.

The family had been told that Karli’s body was not found and he was declared to have lost his life in the service of his country. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the World War II Victory Medal and the American Defense Service Medal in 1946.

He was celebrated home with graveside Military Honors Ceremony on May 1 at Mountain View Cemetery.

“I’m sure John’s spirit is relieved on this very special Memorial Day,” Dormody said. “He is finally home in Southern California and the land of baseball, which he loved so dearly.”