Memorial service for Pearl Harbor survivor Jack Holder to be held in Chandler
Apr 10, 2023, 10:05 AM | Updated: 10:07 am
(Photos via Facebook/Pearl Harbor National Memorial)
PHOENIX — A public memorial service for Pearl Harbor survivor Jack Holder, who died at age 101 earlier this year, will be held in Chandler this week.
Holder’s life will be celebrated in a ceremony starting at 1 p.m. Friday at Cornerstone Church at 1595 S. Alma School Road, between the Loop 202 Santan Freeway and Germann Road, the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services said in a press release Monday.
Doors to the church, where memorabilia honoring the World War II hero’s legacy will be on display, are set to open at noon.
Holder, who died Feb. 24 at the Chandler Regional Medical Center, will be laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
Holder was born in 1921 to a farming family in East Texas and joined the Navy in 1940 when he was 18. He was on duty at Ford Island within Oahu’s Pearl Harbor when Japanese aircraft bombed the U.S. naval base there on Dec. 7, 1941.
“I saw the [USS] Oklahoma turn turtle-up, I saw guys swimming through burning oil in the water,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM in 2020.
“I guess the most vivid remembrance I have is thinking ‘God, please don’t let me die in this ditch.’”
Over 2,000 U.S. military personnel, including more than 1,000 aboard the USS Arizona, were killed in the attack, prompting the country to enter World War II.
Holder went on to fly more than 100 missions during the war, including at the Battle of Midway.
The Pearl Harbor National Memorial said Holder was awarded two distinguished flying cross medals, six air medals, a presidential citation and six commendation medals in his Navy career before being honorably discharged in 1948.
Holder then flew for 25 years as a corporate and commercial pilot, took up golf and moved to a Chandler retirement community. He also became an avid WWII educator and became a regular at Pearl Harbor commemorations and museums and schools, according to Darlene Tyron, a close friend of Holder’s and executor of his estate.
Holder published a memoir titled “Fear, Adrenaline, and Excitement” in 2016.
In December 2021, Valley nonprofit Grounded No More took the war hero on an honor flight out of Mesa’s Falcon Field to celebrate his 100th birthday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.