A Corbin sailor killed in the Imperial Japanese Navy’s attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 will be laid to rest alongside other members of his family at Corinth Cemetery on October 5.
Surviving family members of Motor Machinist’s Mate First Class Ulis C. Steely said while there was discussion of leaving him with his shipmates and other service members killed in the War in the Pacific buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, with so many family members remaining in Whitley County, it was decided to return him home.
“There is already a marker in the cemetery for him,” said Lorrie Steely, who is married to Ulis’ grandson, Dean.
“If he was buried in Hawaii, there was no way most of the family would ever be able to visit the grave,” she said.
A visitation is scheduled for 5:30–8 p.m. on October 4 at Hart Funeral Home in Corbin.
The funeral will be at 11 a.m. on October 5 followed by the procession to the cemetery off of U.S. 25W south of Corbin.
“We want him to have as big of a welcome home as he can get,” Lorrie said.
While none of the surviving family members knew Ulis personally, his nephew, Coit Steely, said those that did know him would occasionally talk about him.
“He liked to cut up and joke and carry on,” Coit Steely said of what he heard about his Uncle Ulis.
Ulis Steely joined the Navy in 1934. At the time, he was five days shy of his 18th birthday.
“He was going to make a career out of it,” Coit said of Ulis.
While the fate of Ulis remained unknown, the family memorialized him in Whitley County, placing a stone at Corinth Cemetery.
“His parents, Ed and Minnie Steely, had the stone put there,” Coit Steely said. “We would decorate it along with the other graves as far back as I can remember.”
The memorial stone, which is alongside Ed and Minnie’s graves, will now be a tombstone, as Ulis will be buried in that spot.
“If they are looking down, they have smiles on their faces,” Coit said of Ulis, Ed and Minnie Steely. “Uncle Ulis is finally coming home.”