Sara Barron Nelson, 103, Pearl Harbor survivor

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Sara Barron Nelson
Sara Barron Nelson

Sara Barron Nelson, who survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, died Friday, April 7, 2017, at the age of 103. She resided at Sunrise Senior Living in Alexandria, Va.

One of seven children, she was born Dec. 6, 1913, in Cedartown, Ga., and raised in nearby Cave Spring. She worked for the National Park Service in Richmond, Va., in the mid-1930’s in the office overseeing construction of Skyline Drive.

She married Carl B. Nelson of Hampton, Va., in 1938. Sara accompanied her husband to Hawaii in 1940 after he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps. On Saturday evening, Dec. 6, 1941, she celebrated her 28th birthday with her husband and friends at Hickam Field Officers Club.

In the early morning hours of December 7, she witnessed the Japanese attack from the rear of their quarters overlooking the entrance to Pearl Harbor. She later recalled that some of the Japanese planes were flying so low she could see faces of pilots in open cockpits. Along with other military dependents, she and her one-month-old daughter, Nancy, were evacuated on Christmas day by ship in a blacked-out convoy from Honolulu to San Francisco.

Sara and her family moved to Alexandria in 1950 and lived in the Hollin Hall area. She worked at the Pentagon in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 1962 to 1974, when she and her husband retired and moved to the Queens Lake area of Williamsburg, Va. She resided in Williamsburg for over 40 years before returning to Alexandria in 2015. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and numerous other genealogical organizations.

Sara’s husband, Carl, died in 1994, and her daughter, Nancy S. Worsley, died in 2015. She is survived by two sons, Carl B. Nelson of Washington, D.C., and George F. Nelson of Boncarbo, Colo.; and eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at Williamsburg Memorial Park.

Share condolences with the family at nelsencares.com.