Marine identified nearly 80 years after Pearl Harbor laid to rest in Central Valley

On the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor the family of Jack Cremean finally has closure.

Cremean was a marine serving on the U.S.S. Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Donna Moren is a niece of Cremean. She never met her uncle, he died many years before she was born.

"We knew of him. He wasn't a mystery. My mother and my aunt talked of him constantly. We had things that he had sent home from Hawaii. So we had memories," said Moren.

Those memories include photos plus a grass hula skirt and sailor doll Cremean sent home before he died.

Cremean was laid to rest Friday afternoon in Madera.

His family wondered if he would ever have a finally resting place since Cremean's parents didn't know for months that their only son had been killed.

"It was an emotional roller coaster for them because at first they got a telegram telling them he was missing in action. Then they got a telegram telling them no we were wrong he's on another ship," said Esther Spradlin, Cremean's Niece.

He was declared dead the following March but his remains were never identified until of August of this year.

Cremean's sister Ruth was contacted by officials in 2001 for a DNA sample to help identify remains in the graves of the unknown in Hawaii.

But closure would come two years too late.

"She hoped to live long enough to find him but she passed away in September of 2016. So we know they are together in Heaven and she knows where he is but his remains were really important to find and to give closure," said Moren.

Cremean was laid to rest at the same cemetery where his parents are buried.

He is survived by his three nieces, three nephews and their families.
Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.