After 75 years, Utahn killed in Pearl Harbor comes home

MONROE, Sevier County — A new home, a fiancé and law school were waiting for Elliott Deen Larsen in December 1941.

More than 75 years later, his community is preparing for his return.

Larsen was released from the Navy on Dec. 6, 1941, but was not ready to leave Hawaii and return to civilian life just yet. The sailor, 25, wanted to see the sights and savor his time playing baritone in the U.S. Navy Band at ceremonies around the world, from Arlington to London’s Westminster Abbey, where he performed at the 1937 coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

Larsen, a musician first class, planned to stay an extra two weeks on the USS Oklahoma before heading home to his tiny ranching community in central Utah for Christmas.

The morning after his release, Larsen was one of 429 crewmen who perished on the torpedoed ship in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7.

His mother wept, and his uncle Dan gave a eulogy. A headstone went up in the Monroe Cemetery. But a body never was found.

“After exhaustive search, it has been found impossible to locate your son,” the Navy’s chief of navigation wrote in an undated telegram addressed to the Larsens, “and he has officially been declared to have lost his life” while serving.

Now, a military identification program using DNA analysis has finally brought closure to his family. Officers flew into Salt Lake City Thursday morning to return Larsen’s remains to Monroe in Sevier County.

“It’s amazing,” said his sister, Betty Lou Worley, 95, at her home in…

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