American Veteran 09

Merle C.J. Hillman

February 7, 1916 ~ December 7, 1941 (age 25) 25 Years Old
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Merle Hillman Obituary

On October 20, 2023, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting agency identified the remains of Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class Merle Chester Joseph Hillman, missing from World War II.

Merle was born in Chicopee, Massachusetts son of the late Arthur and Gertrude Hillman and grandson of the late Peter and Agnes Provost. Besides his parents and grandparents, Merle was proceeded in death by his brother Donald F. Hillman, his sister Marjorie G. Malone, his daughter Marjorie E. Brown and his niece Patricia Jennings.

He was a 1933 graduate of Holyoke High School and entered the U.S. Navy on February 17, 1937 and served on the USS California. On Sunday December 7, 1941 a surprise attack was launched on Navy base a Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The California was hit and many sailors went missing. Although some remains were identified, many were later buried as Unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Merle has several relatives who still survive him: his grandchildren Cynthia Brown of Springfield, Debra Gazda of Chicopee and Patricia Brown of Enfield, CT.; his great grand children Dr. Megan Gazda-Sulham of Longmeadow and Ryan Gazda of Boston; his great-great grandson Asher Sulham; his nieces Cheryl A. Quinn of Holyoke, and Merle F. Korpi of Duluth, MN; grand nieces Kelly Thorsten of Andover, MN, Shannon Quinn of Holyoke, and Ashley Sidebottom of Beverly, MA; grand-nephews Dr. John Korpi of Canyon, MN, Brendan Quinn of Holyoke, Rory Quinn of Springfield, and Griffin Jennings of South Hadley; also 5 great-grand nieces and nephews. 

Pharmacist Mate 2nd Class Merle C.J. Hillman will return home to Western Massachusetts and be buried in the Saint Jerome Cemetery in Holyoke with his brother Donald F. Hillman on Saturday January 27, 2024 following visitation in the Barry J. Farrell Funeral Home, 2049 Northampton Street, Holyoke, Massachusetts from 9:00am to 10:00am. A prayer service will be held in the funeral home at 10:00am followed by procession to Saint Jerome Cemetery.

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Services

Visitation
Saturday
January 27, 2024

9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Barry J. Farrell Funeral Home
2049 Northampton Street
Holyoke, MA 01040

Funeral Service
Saturday
January 27, 2024

10:00 AM
Barry J. Farrell Funeral Home
2049 Northampton Street
Holyoke, MA 01040

Committal with Military Honors
Saturday
January 27, 2024

10:30 AM
Saint Jerome Cemetery
1666 Northampton Street
Holyoke, MA 01040

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