Elroy “Al” Allen Graber
Al was born in Seattle on March 4, 1917. He graduated from Ballard High School and attended the University of Washington for 4 1/2 years, where he participated in ROTC. He volunteered for the Army prior to graduation and served from 5 July 1940 to 22 November 1946, throughout World War II. Al served in the artillery, infantry, and engineering. Following demobilization with the rank of Captain, Al joined the Army Reserve and achieved the rank of Major. He was awarded the American Theater Service Medal, American Defense Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal with a Bronze Star, World War II Victory Medal and Army of Occupation Medal (Germany), and was recognized by Act of Congress as a Pearl Harbor Survivor. Al was stationed at Pearl Harbor the August before the Japanese attacked. Three days before the “Day That Will Live in Infamy”, the Army rescinded a previous alert and ordered arms and ammunition to be returned. Living off base, Al was unable to return his unit’s arms until Monday, the day after the attack. Consequently, Al and his men were able to return fire and hit one enemy aircraft. On that fateful morning, Al could hear explosions and saw huge columns of smoke, so he drove to the base. On arrival, he heard a sound like hail, but it was lead and shrapnel raining down from the fierce battle that was in progress. After Pearl Harbor, Al served in the Pacific Campaign on Canton Island in the South Pacific, the Italian campaign, and the occupation of Germany. Al married the love of his life, Charlotte Rose Marotta, in June 1941. During his six years of military service, when he was deployed, they were able to communicate only by letter, but their love never wavered. Following demobilization, Al completed his mining engineering degree at the University of Washington and became a licensed Professional Engineer. He worked in copper, lead-zinc, uranium, and coal mining projects throughout the West, including Holden, WA, Grand Junction, CO, Sheridan, WY, and Grants, NM. Al was a member of numerous professional mining associations. In 1965, Al participated in a USAID project to reopen “King Solomon’s Mines”, an ancient copper deposit near Eilat, Israel, located on the Red Sea close to the border with Jordan. During their time in the Holy Land, Al and Charlotte visited all the most famous sights, including Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Galilee, and the Dead Sea. They survived the Jordanian attack on Eilat at the outbreak of the Six Day War in 1969. During vacations, they traveled widely in Europe, and especially enjoyed Italy and Spain. After return to the USA, Al accepted an assignment with Utah International in San Francisco. In 1973, Al and Charlotte decided to retire to Anacortes. They loved the community and participated in many events. Al’s interests included history and politics, socializing with friends and family, fly fishing, and playing bridge. Al is survived by his beloved wife of 72 years, Charlotte, who is now 96 years old. Other survivors include his son Lee, daughter-in-law Linda, two grandchildren, Ross and Lauren, his brother Louis and spouse Francis, and his sister Laverne, and his nieces and nephews. A celebration of Al’s life will be held at the Majestic Inn, 419 Commercial Avenue in Anacortes, WA 98221, at 4:00pm on March 8, 2013. Family and friends are warmly invited to attend. Al will be laid to rest at Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in Seattle on March 9, 2013 with Military Honors, in a private family ceremony. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Al’s memory to The Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 75817, Topeka, Kansas 66675. Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel and Crematory, Inc., Anacortes, WA and the San Juan Islands. To share memories of Al please sign the online guest register at www.evanschapel.com.