PURVIS, MS (WDAM) - A Pine Belt sailor who survived Pearl Harbor was laid to rest Friday and remembered by friends and fellow veterans as a hero.
Ninety-two-year-old Harold "Smokey" Stover was remembered by friends family and fellow veterans Friday afternoon at Coal Town Cemetery with military honors performed by the VFW Post 3036 Honor Guard.
"Smokey Stover was a legend in his own time," said Robert Bo Tims, chaplain of the VFW and member of the Honor Guard. "It's an honor for us to do his funeral today. He was a World War II veteran and a survivor of Pearl Harbor, from the greatest generation. No other like him. He'll be missed, but we know he's in heaven with his lord today."
Stover was an 18-year-old sailor from Illinois, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and participated in numerous battles throughout the war, like Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
"It's an honor for us to do it for any veteran, especially a World War II veteran because we're losing them everyday," Tims said. "A few years from now, we won't have any left, but it's a great honor for us to do it a war veteran, especially a Pearl Harbor survivor. "
Stover also served in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953, and he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medals for WWII and Korea.
Stover settled in Mississippi after 20 years of service to his country.
Tims remembers him as a vivid storyteller who made everyone laugh.
"We've done a lot of funerals together and Smokey, he was just a clown that kept everybody laughing, especially the young people," Tims said. "He was a hero."