He was a beloved husband, father and man of God who witnessed what President Franklin Roosevelt termed “a day that will live in infamy.”
William Furrer, of Centralia, the last known survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in the area, died Sept. 22. He was 95.
From where Chief Petty Officer William Furrer stood on the roof of his barracks on Dec. 7, 1941, he said he could look directly into the cockpit of an attacking plane and see the face of a Japanese pilot.
It was a Sunday, and he was doing some early morning laundry on the roof of his barracks located on Ford Island, in the middle of the harbor.
Battleship Row, the primary target of the Japanese attack, was located off the east side of the island.
His squadron did not have any casualties, his daughter Margie Lantz said. He spent the rest of the day assisting with cleanup and rescue efforts. In the days following the attack, he and his squad were sent on patrol for Japanese planes on the island. Lantz said they were given Springfield bolt-action rifles to shoot at the aircraft if they found any, but they did not.
His story of the war was captured by local historian and columnist Julie McDonald in an article printed in The Chronicle on Dec. 6, 2008. Furrer was an aviation mechanic, according to McDonald. Throughout the war, he had several posts in the Pacific.
Although he never told his daughters about the horrors he saw, Furrer did talk about some of the lighter moments, Lantz told The Chronicle.