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November 29, 2022


Seaman 1st Class, Houston Temples

September 27, 1917 - December 7, 1941

Houston Temples was born in the small community of Varnado, Louisiana on September 27, 1917, and was killed in action, on December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, HI while serving his country on the U.S.S. Oklahoma.  Houston was a member of Central Landmark Missionary Baptist Church, Pine, LA.  Houston was the third of eleven children born to Thomas T. “Tommie” Temples and Dixie Rovila Sheridan Temples of Varnado, LA.  At the time of Houston’s death, his father, Tommie, was 56 years of age; mother, Dixie, was 48 years of age; and his siblings: Rue Jay was 29 years of age; Robert, 28 years of age; Hubert, 21 years of age; Seamon, 17 years of age; Bessie, 14 years of age; Beckie, 11 years of age; Shelton, 8 years of age; and Melvin, 3 years of age, and two sisters, Fannie and Baby Girl Temples, who died at a very early age.

Houston Temples is survived by nieces and nephews: Shirley Temples Hayman, Montgomery, TX; Betty Lou Temples Kemp, Lumberton, MS; Douglas “Buddy” Temples, Pine, LA; Karen Temples Robbins, Picayune, MS; Sherrie A. Dean, Hurley, MS; Michael Joseph Temples, Picayune, MS; Lynda Dean Bobinger, Madison, MS; Karla Temples Kendrick, Picayune, MS; Joey Wade Temples, Picayune, MS; and Trent Patrick Temples, Bogalusa, LA.  Houston’s parents, siblings, and a few nieces, and nephews have followed Houston posthumously.

During this time in our country’s history, pride for America ran high and Houston felt it was his duty to serve his country and serve her well.  So, on July 31, 1940, at the age of 22, he traveled to New Orleans, LA, and enlisted in the United States Navy.

Soon afterward, he started his naval training in San Diego, CA, and was assigned to the U.S.S. Oklahoma (BB-37), a Nevada-class battleship with a length of 583 feet, and 2,166 sailors and marines manned the battleship.  Houston would have been trained in naval drill duties, steering, and signaling, as well as standing watch and proper gunnery usage.

At the birth of the December 7, 1941 attack, the U.S.S. Oklahoma was moored at “Berth Fox 5” on “Battleship Row.”  The U.S.S. Oklahoma was among the first ships to be attacked due to its position in the harbor.  The U.S.S. Oklahoma suffered nine torpedo hits on the port side, before succumbing to her watery grave where 429 men paid the ultimate prices by Japan’s surprise attack at Pearl Harbor.

From December 1941 to June 1944, The Department of the Navy buried the remains of the sailors in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.  In September of 1947, the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) was tasked with the recovery and identification of fallen U.S. personnel and disinterring the remains from the two cemeteries.  Eventually, the American Graves Registration Service buried the unidentified remains of the sailors in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, commonly known as the Punchbowl, an expanse of a volcanic crater, located in Honolulu, HI.

In 1966, Seaman 1st Class, Houston Temples was memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing and was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.  His mother, Dixie Sheridan Temples, kept the Purple Heart always near her until she died in 1974.

In June 2015, in hope of identifying the fallen sailors, the Deputy Secretary of Defense directed the disinterment of the unidentified sailors buried at the The Punchbowl, Honolulu, HI.  However, Shelton Temples and his children had already donated their DNA to help identify Houston’s remains.  Then, on April 16, 2021, Houston Temples’ body was identified and will be interred, with full Military Honors, in The Veteran Section of Ponemah Cemetery, Bogalusa, LA, on December 7, 2022.


Visitation will be Wednesday, December 7, 2022, from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM at American Legion, 63349 Highway 10, Bogalusa, Louisiana 70427

Memorial Service will be Wednesday, December 7, 2022, from 1:00 PM – 1:45 PM at American Legion, 63349 Highway 10, Bogalusa, Louisiana 70427

Processional to Ponemah Cemetery: 1:45 PM – 2:00 PM

Graveside Full Military Honors, Veterans Section, Ponemah Cemetery: 2:00 PM

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