Dorwin F. Lamkin

Dorwin F. Lamkin, the last known military Pearl Harbor survivor in Greater Kansas City, died March 17, 2019, in Overland Park, KS. Born in North Hudson, WI, in 1922, he joined the Navy on his 18th birthday in 1940. He was a corpsman on the USS Nevada during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

After the Japanese attack Dorwin went to Navy lab school and served on the USS San Francisco from 1943-44 at the battles of Tarawa, Kwajelein (Marshall Islands), Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Attu, Alaska. He attended the University of Kansas, and was in a receiving station in San Francisco expecting to be part of the invasion force when the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending World War II. He was sent to the Philippines as a hospital lab technician, ending his 6 years of service as a pharmacist’s mate 1st class. He was awarded the Navy Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with six battle stars, World War II Victory Medal and Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.

With Upjohn for 23 years, he covered a succession of sales territories while based in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Kansas. He later worked for the mechanical equipment company Simplex, becoming national sales manager, until retiring in the mid-1980s.

As president of the Metro III Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Assn. and a Mission, KS, resident for decades, he spearheaded the drive to create the Pearl Harbor Memorial Park, dedicated in 2004 at Martway and Maple in Mission. He was also an early major donor of the Heartland Honor Flight.

Dorwin was proud of his Norwegian ancestry, traced to his grandfather who immigrated to America in 1889, and he enjoyed visiting his cousin in Norway. His favorite activities were reading, drinking coffee, fishing and watching football. As a Wisconsin native, he was a lifelong fan of the Green Bay Packers. He had played both offense and defense in football at KU, as well as played on the 1948 Orange Bowl team. He was a diehard Jayhawk.

He met his wife Katherine Gorrill at KU, and together they had four sons. Katherine died in a hit-and-run accident in 1968. In 1969 he met and married Nora Bridges Cowan, a divorcee with two children. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1997 and died in 2001.

Dorwin is survived by his daughter Susan Cowan, whom he adopted in 2004, Overland Park; and sons Scott Lamkin, Lawrence, KS; Calvin Lamkin, Farmersville, TX; and Peter Lamkin, Fairfax, CA; five grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.

In addition to Katherine and Nora, he was preceded in death by his sons Eric Lamkin and David Cowan, whom he adopted in 2005. His brother, Richard, died in 2016.

The family would like to thank the staffs at Brookdale Rosehill and Morningside Place for their thoughtful care of Dorwin.


A visitation/memorial will be from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, March 21, at Amos Family Funeral Home, 10901 Johnson Dr., Shawnee, KS. A picnic and burial will be at noon Saturday, May 4, at Ridge Park Cemetery, 780 E. Yerby St., Marshall, MO.


In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to:

Heartland Honor Flight
Attention: Donations
PO Box 843930
Kansas City, MO 64184-3930

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Posted in Kansas City Obituaries, Obituaries | on Monday, Mar. 18th 2019 | 16 Comments »

16 Comments on “Dorwin F. Lamkin”

  1. Dave Knapp Says:

    Rest now hero, we’ll take it from here.

  2. Kerry Gann Says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of Mr Lamkin. I did not have the pleasure of knowing him, but wanted to pass my condolences to his family and friends. Sir, I thank you for your service to our great country. May you Rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time.

  3. joan hollack Says:

    always always has a smile for everyone and a kind word he will be missed and never forgotten my dad jesse dunnagan also was in the navy and they both got a long great at the pearl harbor meetings so sorry he has left us friends always joan

  4. Steve heaton Says:

    I met this hero when he lived at Brookdale with where my WWII Grandfather was. Stand down sailor. Your mission is complete. We will have the watch. RIP hero.

  5. Jim Locke Says:

    Thank you for your service, but also for your friendship and mentoring. I will miss your humor and our shared love of the Jayhawks. God speed.

  6. Elizabeth O’Malley Says:

    He was a wonderful man. Part of the geezers club at Sylvester Powell community center. Drank the strongest coffee I’ve ever tasted. It was an honor to be told his stories. Elizabeth O’Malley ( snowflakes granddaughter)

  7. Robin Campbell Says:

    I did not know Mr.Lamkin, my prayers and condolences go to the ones who did know and love him. Thank you and may he Rest In Peace, a true American hero.

  8. Derek Moore Says:

    it was AN HONOR to know him. I met part of the mens group at Sylvestor Powell Community Center. he was an original memeber of the “ole Geezer” group. Many great laughs and stories told in the coffee room!
    His legacy as a Pearl Harbor survivor was one that was honored at the center in a annual ceremony each year.
    i was so proud to call him a friend.. an Honor to know him.

  9. Jim and Sheila (Nelson) Rice Says:

    Our deepest condolences to the Lamkin family. Dorwin was such an interesting man. I always enjoyed visiting with him and Nora.

  10. Barbara Brown Faunce Says:

    I never met Dorwin, but his name rings so familiar to me. When I saw the posting on FB of his passing, I was taken back to the Fall of 1973 when I student taught with his wife Nora Lamkin. She often spoke with a wry grin about her family, relating one story or another that reflected warmth and humor in their relationships. I tried to contact her too late to pass on my thanks at the end of my teaching career, but seeing Dorwin’s name brought up those fond memories of her stories about Dorwin and her children.

  11. Karen E Clausing Says:

    I was saddened to hear of Dorwin’s passing, he was a wonderful neighbor and friend for so many years. I have missed his stories and tall tails and enjoyed our many coffees and dinners together. He was a remarkable, one of a kind individual, He had a way of making everyone around him feel special, he will be missed.
    My deepest sympathy to his family, but I know he is in a special place where with his loved ones who have gone on before him.

  12. Martha Moroney Says:

    I met Dorwin when he and my husband were residents at Brookdale Rosehill. He was such an interesting man and always interested in others. I enjoyed our conversations and his wit. Condolences to his family.

  13. Melinda Hartel Says:

    I am grateful to have known him. He had a keen mind and an even keener sense of humor and, most of all, a humble heart. He was gracious and appreciative of every small thing (especially a cup of coffee).

  14. Gregg DuPree Says:

    Dorwin was a wonderful neighbor and exemplary patriot. He had an engaging personality and was very well spoken. He served as a mentor and supporter for many others in his life, helping them in their times of need.

    Although he had ample reason to tout his heroics and accomplishments, it was several years after we lived next door, and at my prompting, that he divulged much of his past. Dorwin was a humble hero. Rest in peace, friend.

  15. jock taylor Says:

    I sorry to see the death of your father. By reading the obit he had to be an incredible person. I will always consider you a good friend.

  16. Louisa Lamkin Timmons Says:

    Rest now, you’re earthly work done. You are well loved and well remembered.

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