Pearl Harbor Veteran from Beloit dies at 102

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 10:25 AM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - One of the few remaining veterans who survived the Japanese Pearl Harbor in 1941 died in Beloit.

“When they see the flags, it makes them whole,” said friend of Stan Van Hoose Mark Finnegan.

102 flags fly outside the Assumption Catholic Church in Beloit Wednesday to honor the life of 102-year-old Stan Van Hoose who served abroad the USS Maryland when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

“The family knows they’re not mourning alone,” Finnegan said.

Van Hoose passed away Jan. 7 at Beloit Senior Living. He was born in Kentucky but made Beloit his home after serving in the US Navy. He would often speak in nearby schools about his experiences in World War Two, but others knew him for owning a vacuum cleaner store.

“He had just an incredible life. His military life was unbelievable and then his success, you know, in the private era was great. But he was a storyteller, and the stories might have changed a little bit. You learn that the more you talk to him, but he was just so much fun,” Finnegan said.

George Olson says he became fast friends with Van Hoose 60 years ago because they both served overseas.

“He was quite a dancer. He loved to dance with the ladies. He wasn’t a drinker, but he just liked to get out and dance with them,” Olson said.

Along with dancing, Olson says his friend often captivated people with his charm and charisma, but most of all the stories he told.

“When you talk to Stan, you won’t have to say very much because Stan is going to tell you everything. He loved telling stories about his life and his friends in the navy,” Olson said.

Local historians say more than 2,000 military members died in the Pearl Harbor attack and there are only about 100 Peral Harbor veterans still alive today.