Clinton Kenneth Lokey – Radioman, United States Navy

Pearl Harbor survivor, historian dies at 88Clifton Lokey went on to watch surrender of Japanese

Clinton Kenneth Lokey, who escaped death at Pearl Harbor by a matter of seconds and later witnessed the surrender of the Japanese aboard the USS Missouri, ending World War II, died Monday at the age of 88.

A Wilmington, Delaware, native, he had been a resident of the Manokin Retirement Home in Princess Anne, Maryland, in recent years.

Lokey joined the Navy in 1936 and was a radioman aboard the USS Curtiss on December 7, 1941. He had just been relieved from his duty shift and left the ship’s radio shack to go to the galley for breakfast when Japanese fighters streaked overhead, dropping bombs and strafing the harbor. One of the Japanese fighters, riddled with anti-aircraft fire from American gunners, slammed into the ship’s radio room, killing the man who had relieved him on watch moments earlier.

The attack was a surprise, but Lokey and almost every other military man stationed at Pearl Harbor knew that a war with Japan was inevitable, according to his brother Walter.

“My brother never talked much about that day,” Walter Lokey said, “but he was incensed about the way the Japanese attacked. I was, too. We all were, I guess.”

Walter Lokey was in boot camp when the bombs fell, having joined the Navy himself a few months earlier.

The Lokey brothers fought the Japanese in the Pacific throughout the war but never saw one another until it ended. Ironically, Walter said, his ship and his brother’s were once anchored close by in 1944 but neither knew the other’s whereabouts and so they missed that opportunity to visit.

Clinton Lokey was born in Wilmington, Delaware, September 15, 1917, the first child of John Raymond and Elsie G. Lokey.

The family moved to Sussex County a few years later and he attended public schools in Laurel and Millsboro.

After joining the Navy he took his basic training at Norfolk, Virginia, and attended Naval Radio School in San Diego.

He was assigned to the Asiatic Fleet aboard the USS Augusta. He had transferred to the USS Curtiss shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Lokey retired from the Navy in 1957 and enrolled at American University. After receiving his degree he became the 3rd Army’s historian at what was then Camp Meade, Maryland.

An avid reader, Lokey was keenly interested in the study of genealogy. He spent several years tracing the ancestry of Eleazer Parsons, his grandfather, and John B. Parsons, his great uncle.

John B. Parsons was well known for his work on the infrastructure of both New York and Philadelphia and later founded a retirement home in Salisbury, Maryland.

Lokey is survived by his wife of 57 years, Etta Morgan Lokey; his son, Randy; step-daughter, Virginia; brothers Walter of Wilmington, Marvin of Salisbury, and Norwood of Edgewood, Maryland; sisters Marian of Salt Lake City; Thelma of Livonia, Michigan; and Nelva of Salisbury, Maryland, as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

His brothers Norris, Paul, and Ivan are deceased.

Lokey will be buried with military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. A date and time have not yet been set for the burial service.

DATE OF BIRTH: 09/15/1917
DATE OF DEATH: 05/08/2006

Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment