BARSTOW — The life of Army veteran and Pearl Harbor survivor Simon Nasario was honored during a special memorial service.
The service for Nasario, who died on June 20, was held at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Barstow and honored the Hawaiian native who worked on a plantation throughout his youth and was drafted in 1941.
Born on Oct. 18, 1918, Nasario was awakened by the first wave of Japanese planes on their way to bomb Ewa Airfield on the island of Oahu. During that time, Nasario was enjoying his first weekend leave at his grandmother's home across the street from the airfield.
He quickly returned to his post at Schofield Barracks and hid in the cane fields as the attacks continued. He began digging a trench around the base to thwart a possible attack by the Japanese from the sea.
Nasario served during the entire war in and around various locations on the Hawaiian islands and Guadalcanal. After his discharge in 1945, he married Amalia “Molly” Aguilar and the couple was together until her death in 2010.
The Nasarios began a family in Garden City, Kansas and relocated in 1954 to Barstow, where he worked for Santa Fe Railroad. Simon also had a successful career as an electronic technician with Bendix at the Goldstone Communications Complex in the Mojave Desert.
Barstow Mayor Julie Hackbarth-McIntyre told the Desert Dispatch Nasario was a "sweetheart" who was also a "hero" and "fixture" in the community.
"Sam would come into Del Taco all the time, wearing his Pearl Harbor Survivor cap," Hackbarth-McIntyre said. "He attended all the Memorial and Veterans Day events. He will be missed dearly by the citizens of Barstow."
Besides frequently attending local events, Nasario enjoyed annual trips to Pearl Harbor in December to pay respect to his fallen comrades and to meet with family, friends and loved ones. His final visit was last year.
The Nasarios had three children, Simon Jr., who preceded his father in death; Patricia Nasario Peterman (spouse George) of Los Angeles, and the "baby," Monica Nasario, of Hesperia. In May, Nasario traveled to Washington, D.C. on an Honor Flight with his daughter Patti.
His family said Nasario loved his little dog and longtime companion “WC.” They added that he “never met a stranger,” had more friends than could ever be counted and treated everyone with true "Aloha spirit.”
They said the Army veteran was a “genius” in his field as he enjoyed being a ham operator and tinkering with anything electrical.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to www.honorflightsouthland.org.
Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLa Cruz@VVDailyPress.com or on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.