PARIS, Ky. (LEX 18) — Thursday marks a day one Bourbon county woman hoped would come at one point in time. It's a homecoming for Stanley Owsley, who was killed in the U.S.S. Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor.
After many years of wondering where his remains were, Owsley is back home in Paris.
"He's always been the family hero," said B.J. Linville Short, who is Owsley's great-niece. "We've always cherished his memory. My grandmother was very close to him."
Owsley was born in 1918 and grew up on a farm in Bourbon County. He enlisted in the Navy shortly after he turned 18. Linville Short says according to Owsley's application, he intended to make a career out of serving in the Navy. It was Dec. 7, 1941, when the U.S.S. Oklahoma was hit multiple times in Pearl Harbor.
"We've always kind of carried Stanley with us even though we didn't know him," Linville Short said.
Short says it was Dec. 20, 1941, when Owsley was considered missing in action. Less than two months later, he was considered killed in action. His older sister, Mary Ida Linville, often considered her and Owsley the closest because they were just about two years apart.
"We always knew she wanted to bring him home and wondered where he was," she said.
For decades they hoped at least one day he could home to Paris, so most of his family could welcome him home. In May of 2020, Mary Ida Linville passed away at 104 years old. Just a few months later, Owsley's remains were identified.
"We initially thought about just burying him in Hawaii with his shipmates," Linville Short said. "But because he was so close with my grandmother, we knew this is what she would have wanted."
Thursday, he was brought to his final resting spot next to his older sister.
"It does bring us peace and to know that we were able to bring him back to be with her -- I can't imagine not knowing where your loved one was for all those years," Linville Short said.
She says some family DNA samples were provided in order to identify Owsley's remains. His name is recorded on the walls of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as The Punchbowl, along with others missing from World War II. A rosette is next to his name to indicate he is now accounted for.