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
PO Box 843930
Kansas City, MO 64184-3930