Robert Monroe “Bobby” Temple (1922-1941)

Robert Monroe “Bobby” Temple
January 15, 1922 – December 7, 1941 

US Navy Seaman First Class Robert Monroe “Bobby” Temple, age 19, of Wathena, Kans., died December 7, 1941 in Pearl Harbor, a casualty of the World War II bombing of the USS Oklahoma.

Bobby was born January 15, 1922 and grew up in Wathena, Kans. He was the second child of the late James Monroe Temple and the late Elizabeth Jane, nee Hoke, Temple. He joined the Navy when he was 18 and was stationed on the USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor when it was attacked by Japan. His remains were never identified until recently when his surviving brother was notified that the Navy had identified Bobby’s remains through modern DNA testing.

His brothers and sisters who survived him at the time of his death were the late Edith Fees, the late Frank C. (Margaret) Fees, the late Charles E. (Mary) Temple, the late Joan F. Becker, James S. (Malvine) Temple of O’Fallon, Mo., and Barbara Johnson of Tenn. Also surviving are many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

He had a grand future planned, but gave his life for the cause of liberty and freedom.

After 75 years of waiting, the family is looking forward to conducting a memorial service that properly honors Bobby’s life and sacrifice. There are many letters, pictures, and amazing stories to be shared.

All veterans are invited to attend. World War II veterans attending will have special seating reserved for them. The public may also pay their respects along the route of the funeral procession, which will depart Wolfersberger Funeral Home, at 9:30 am, Saturday, June 17, 2017, as it travels south on Lincoln Avenue, through Shiloh via Main Street and Lebanon Avenue to Faith Family Church, Shiloh.

As requested, donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

Funeral: A public funeral service, to include presentation of Naval military honors, will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, June 17, 2017 at Faith Family Church, 704 North Green Mount Rd., Shiloh, Ill., with nephew Pastor John Temple officiating.

S1C Temple’s remains will lie in state for a public visitation from 1:00 – 4:00 pm, both Sunday, June 18, and Monday, June 19, 2017 at Wolfersberger Funeral Home, 102 W. Washington St., O’Fallon. He will be returned to Hawaii for committal to his final resting place at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Further historical information:

Within 10 minutes of the start of the attack, the USS Oklahoma was hit with nine torpedoes. It capsized and sank within 20 minutes.  Despite valiant rescue efforts, the bodies of 429 crewmen were entombed within the ship.

In 1943, through major engineering efforts, the USS Oklahoma was raised and up-righted. All the remains of the crew were recovered from the ship.  Only about 34 bodies were identified through dental records. The rest were placed in a mass grave at Pearl Harbor marked “Unknown.”  In 2015, the U.S. Navy initiated plans to use DNA technology to identify the “Unknowns.” With the use of modern DNA testing and efforts of the U.S. Navy, the remains of Robert Temple have been positively identified.

Community Opportunities:

Volunteers who are willing to assist with posting flags along the procession route are asked to meet at 2:00 pm, Friday, June 16, 2017, at O’Fallon Township High School’s Weber Lot East, near 600 Weber Rd., O’Fallon, Ill. Pick-up trucks are needed.

The public may also pay their respects along the route of the funeral procession, which will depart Wolfersberger Funeral Home, at 9:30 am, Saturday, June 17, 2017, as it travels south on Lincoln Avenue, through Shiloh via Main Street and Lebanon Avenue to Faith Family Church, Shiloh. Parking along the route will be available at St. Clare Catholic Church, Shiloh United Methodist Church, and Corpus Christi Catholic Church.