Decades After Dying, Pasadena Man Killed During WWII Attack on Pearl Harbor Will be Laid to Rest with Military Honors

John Karli comes home to hero's welcome at Mountain View Cemetery on May 1

Published : Tuesday, April 30, 2019 | 5:06 AM

U.S. Navy Seaman First Class John Albert Karli, who graduated from John Muir High School in 1940, will be buried will full military honors at Mountain View Cemetary on May 1. Images courtesy Mountain View Cemetary.

[Updated] A military ceremony will be held Wednesday to honor U.S. Navy Seaman First Class John Albert Karli, whose earthly remains will be laid to rest at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena after 78 years of anonymity.

The Pearl Harbor veteran had been interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, buried alongside other “unknown” servicemen. Karli is one of more than 400 men who perished aboard the USS Oklahoma during the attack by Japanese forces on Dec. 7, 1941.

Karli’s remains were only recently identified through the use of DNA samples tested by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System.

Family members came forth to submit samples to the Family Reference Database for future use in the identification of their beloved uncle. Advances in forensic science and genealogical tracing enabled the determination.

Karli’s remains are scheduled to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport Tuesday evening.

“We’re veterans ourselves, so we pride ourselves on taking incoming veterans and their families under our wing,” said Denny Dormody, a funeral director at Mountain View. “We’re always on tenterhooks with tender hearts.”

Karli was born on June 25, 1922 to Swedish immigrant Hildur Rudin who emigrated with her parents to the United States in 1884. His father, Albert Karli emigrated at 22 years old from Sweden in 1901. They married in 1915 after meeting in La Jolla, Calif.

John Karli was the fifth child the couple had, and he had four older sisters, all born between 1916 and 1920.

The family moved into the cottages on the grounds of the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino where Karli’s father worked tending the greenhouses and gardens.

Karli attended the San Marino school system from kindergarten through the third grade.

After the family moved to Pasadena in 1930, he attended the McKinley school through the eighth grade and graduated from John Muir High School in 1940.

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

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

The family was notified that Karli’s body could not be located and he was officially declared to have lost his life in the service of his country.

The family was told that he was awarded the Purple Heart, he was awarded the World War II Victory Medal and the American Defense Service Medal in 1946.

Karli will be laid to rest with his parents.

The graveside Military Honors Ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 1 at Mountain View Cemetery, 2400 North Fair Oaks Avenue, Altadena, California 91001.

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