Tulsa Area Pearl Harbor Survivors Remembered With Special Ceremony On 80th Anniversary

Tuesday, December 7th 2021, 8:18 pm

TULSA, Oklahoma -

The "Last Man's Club" in Tulsa on Tuesday honored Oklahoma Pearl Harbor survivors who have since passed away. 

The club still meets regularly. Widows and children of survivors meet every month at Ollie's restaurant.  

On this 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Tulsa's "Last Man's Club" met at the American Legion Post 308, to remember survivors who were in their club.  

"History should not be forgotten,” Jan Eaton said.  

During the ceremony, 71 names were read, then a bell was rung. The last bell rang for Arles Cole, a Navy veteran.  

"I knew Arles Cole very well,” Eaton said.  

Cole was just 17 and on the USS West Virginia when he survived the attack on Pearl Harbor after a dud bomb created a hole for his escape. 

He died last December, the last known Pearl Harbor survivor in Tulsa.  

"He would come to the middle school where I taught at Jenks and speak on Veterans Day and then come to my classroom to speak to my students,” Eaton said.  

Barbara Kepper is one of the widows in the club.  

"I really joined the group in 1987, that's when I married my Pearl Harbor man,” Kepper said.  

Her husband, Charles, served in the Navy on the USS Salt Lake City. He died 12 years ago.  

"We still talk about Pearl Harbor and a lot of times out at Ollie's. The people will come in and want to listen and want to know more and this is encouraging,” Kepper said.  

While there are no more "last men" in Tulsa, there is a group of people fighting to keep their legacies alive.  

The group meets for breakfast at Ollie’s on the third Saturday of every month, except December, when they have their ceremony.