A Minnesota Pearl Harbor survivor has died, the St. Cloud Times reports. Ralph Krafnick, 95, of St. Cloud, died Sunday after struggling with dementia and heart problems his wife, Dolores Barbarossa-Krafnick, told the newspaper.
Krafnick was 24 and stationed on the USS New Orleans in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked, the newspaper reported. He had been preparing to play in a baseball game. He shared his story in an account he gave in 2007.
Krafnick would be remembered as a historical figure, said Steve Hennes, retired director of the Whitney Senior Center, where Krafnick had lectured.
Survivors of Pearl Harbor are fewer and fewer in number. The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association disbanded in 2011, due to declining membership, the New York Times reported. The group started in 1958 with 28,000, which had dwindled in September 2011 in 2,700, many of them in failing health.
Only a very few Pearl Harbor survivors are left in Minnesota. Just three attended a gathering in St. Paul to mark the 70th anniversary in 2011, MPR reported.