LOCAL NEWS

Remains Of Utah Man Killed In Pearl Harbor Attacks Finally Return Home

Jun 1, 2021, 7:03 PM | Updated: 8:38 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — After nearly 80 years, the remains of a Utah man killed and missing from the attacks on Pearl Harbor have returned home.

You often see people at the Salt Lake City International Airport wearing leis around their necks. Usually, it’s for a trip to Hawaii.

“Aloha!” said Sharon Senecal as she put a lei over another family members neck. “Here we go!”

For one family, though, they weren’t going to Hawaii. Instead, they were welcoming someone home from Hawaii, someone who has been gone for nearly 80 years.

“Today is a very special day,” said Senecal. “He joined the Navy in 1940.”

Senecal was talking about her uncle, Theodore Jensen, who was killed during the attacks at Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Jensen grew up in Sutherland in Millard County and graduated from Delta High School.

He was serving on the USS Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked the American military base.

Jensen’s body was never found.

“We were told he was missing in action, then a few weeks later, they said he was killed in action; then two years later, they said his remains were unknown,” said Senecal, who was five years old at the time. “Then, in about 1949, they sent us a note and said there is no possibility of you ever having any remains of this fallen hero. So, in 1949, we just said he’s gone.”

Of course, the family always wondered what happened to Uncle Theo.

“My aunts and uncles, mother and father, all really missed him and really found it hard to accept the fact he was gone,” said Theo Brasher, one of Jensen’s nephews.

Brasher was born a couple years after Jensen died and was named after him.

“I have always considered it an honor,” he said.

A few months ago, the family got a call from the U.S. Navy about identifying remains they had found.

“I couldn’t believe it. I said, ‘Oh my, this is a scam,’” said Senecal with a laugh.

Sure enough, using DNA samples from family, Jensen’s remains were identified.

The Navy also made plans to bring him back home to Delta.

“It’s something we always wanted, but just never figured it was going to happen,” said John Jensen, who is another one of Jensen’s nephews.

The family gathered at the Salt Lake City International Airport Tuesday afternoon to welcome him home.

Airport security and operations workers escorted them onto the tarmac, and when a Southwest Airlines flights pulled into gate B-20, the family couldn’t believe Jensen was home.

“I don’t know how to put into words how we feel,” said John Jensen. “We’re just, we’re over the moon.”

After the family said a quick prayer over his American flag-draped casket, members of the U.S. Navy carried him into a hearse.

From there, a procession of Utah Highway Patrol, Millard County Sheriff’s Office, the Patriot Guard Riders and family members traveled to Delta.

A memorial service has been planned for Wednesday afternoon. After that, Jensen will be buried in the Delta Cemetery, next to the American Legion Post that was named after him several years ago.

“It was just an amazing feat to all of a sudden say, ‘Here he is! He’s home,'” said Senecal. “We don’t have to worry about where he was — did he stay on the ship? Did he get off the ship? Where was he? He’s home.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Utah County residents vote in-person during the 2020 General Election on Nov. 3, 2020. (KSL-TV)...
LINDSAY WHITEHURST and SAM METZ, Associated Press

Utah’s GOP congressional delegation face primary challengers

All four members of the U.S. House from Utah are facing Republican primary challengers Tuesday while the Democratic challengers they’ll face in November are running uncontested.
10 hours ago
Peter Ingle talking to Matt Gephardt...
Matt Gephardt & Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV

Too risky to insure? Why your homeowner’s insurance could go up in smoke

There are good reasons for an insurance company to drop your homeowner’s coverage. But what happens when you’re dropped for something you have no control over? KSL Investigator Matt Gephardt went out to find: can they do that?
1 day ago
(Utah State Parks)...
Andrew Adams

WWII-era seaplane makes unexpected water landing at Willard Bay after mechanical issue

A World War II-era seaplane that took part in the Warriors over the Wasatch Air & Space Show at Hill Air Force Base over the weekend was in need of a tow Monday after coasting onto the glassy waters of the bay following a mechanical problem.
1 day ago
(Ogden City Police Department)...
Madison Swenson

Teen missing, last seen in the Shadow Valley area of Ogden

Ogden police are asking for the public's help in locating a 16-year-old girl who was last seen early Monday morning.
1 day ago
Hundreds of protesters marched in Provo for abortion rights....
KEVIN McGILL, AMY FORLITI and GEOFF MULVIHILL Associated Press

Supreme Court’s abortion ruling sets off new court fights

Judges have temporarily blocked abortion bans in Louisiana and Utah, while a federal court in South Carolina said a law sharply restricting the procedure would take effect there immediately.
1 day ago
FILE: Utah State Representative Phil Lyman, R-Blanding talks with KSL about the restitution order a...
McKenzie Romero, Deseret News & Ladd Egan, KSL-TV

GOP lawmaker alleges fraud in Utah primary election. State says otherwise

A Utah GOP lawmaker posted election fraud claims in their primary election on social media, only for state officials to debunk the claims.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Remains Of Utah Man Killed In Pearl Harbor Attacks Finally Return Home