This is an archived article that was published on in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Monroe • A small headstone carved with Elliott Deen Larsen's name has rested at the Monroe City Cemetery since 1942, installed not long after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Larsen's family in the southern Utah town assumed the Navy 1st Class musician died in the Dec. 7, 1941, assault, but they could never be certain. His body was never found.

For 75 years, Larsen's grave was only the granite headstone. There were no remains, no final closure on the vibrant life of one 25-year-old sailor.

Until Friday morning.

As about 200 family, friends and curious Monroe locals looked on, six sailors in dress whites carried a silver casket holding Larsen's remains, draped in an American flag, from a hearse to the burial site. The funeral capped a process that began in 2011, when the Navy requested DNA samples from Larsen's sister, Betty Lou Worley, and his niece, Lisa King.

The women didn't hear anything more for years. But, in February, King got a call from a Navy official who told her government scientists had discovered a skull among other unidentified remains from the USS Oklahoma, disinterred from a cemetery known as the Punchbowl in Honolulu.

The skull belonged to Larsen — a perfect DNA match.

His remains were flown to Salt Lake City on Thursday morning. On Friday, many of Larsen's extended family members from around the country gathered at the cemetery under blue skies and a stiff breeze.

Many others also came to witness the momentous and unusual gathering.

There were local politicians and law enforcement officials, members of the military and the American Legion. There were Boy Scouts, who erected dozens of American flags around Monroe early Friday. There were the Patriot Guard Riders, a motorcycle club that accompanied Larsen's remains on their trip from Salt Lake City.

"It's truly extraordinary," said Erik Larsen, Elliott Larsen's nephew, who traveled with his family from Yucaipa, Calif. "How often does this kind of thing happen?"

Erik Larsen said he was surprised to recently hear his uncle's remains were identified after so many years. He knew there was perhaps some hope after the DNA was collected years ago. But, still, he never really saw this coming.

"This makes us very, very, proud as Larsens," he said.

Elliott Larsen was well-known in the family — and later the Navy — for his musical talents. At age 4, he "could pound out over 100 tunes on the piano," his niece King said.

In the Navy, he played baritone horn for the Navy band, traveling around the world, first on the USS Arizona and later the USS Oklahoma.

Larsen's great nephew, Jace M. King, read to the crowd a speech given at the 1942 memorial for Larsen, written by Larsen's uncle, Dan.

"His was an intellect that covered the field of pharmacy, the study of law, the works of the best and deepest authors, the geography of the world by actual travel and deep observation." Dan Larsen had said of his nephew at the Monroe service in 1942. "When we say the glory of God is intelligence — surely there is a place in the great plan of salvation for this boy."

Larsen nearly avoided the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor altogether. He had been released for the holidays the day before, King said, but he opted to wait up on the ship a couple of extra weeks until several friends were off.

The attack killed 429 crewman on the USS Oklahoma — the most of any vessel at Pearl Harbor except the USS Arizona.

"It's been a history lesson for me," King said after the service. "I feel like I got close to him, because I researched so much of his [background], found out so much about him.

"It's a closure," she added. "It was time. It's such an honor that I'm his niece."

Several new lines were recently added to the back of Larsen's headstone at the cemetery. At the top are the dates he served on the USS Arizona and when he was transferred to the Oklahoma.

In the middle it mentions several posthumous awards given to Larsen, including the Purple Heart.

And carved at the bottom, it says: "Completed his journey home to Monroe, Utah. May 26, 2017."