DALLAS-FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - The remains of a Navy Fireman 1st Class from Fort Worth who was killed during Pearl Harbor returned to DFW Wednesday evening.
Albert Utley Kane's remains arrived at DFW Airport in flag-draped coffin, received by a family who believed they'd lost him to history and would never get to bury him.
"As far as my dad telling stories, he did not like to talk about (him,)" said Kane's nephew, Charles. "It was too painful for him."
Kane's family doesn't know much about him. The family members who are still alive never met him.
"What they know is history; that's what they know of him," said the sailor's niece, Kathleen Kane Golden.
Kane left behind some 8-millimeter videos of Fort Worth's Stockyards in the late 1930s.
At 25, he joined the Navy, unmarried and no kids. 14 months later, he was on the USS Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. He worked in the engine room.
"Probably was trapped there when the Oklahoma capsized," said Charles.
The Kanes shared telegrams from the Navy, informing the family that Albert was missing, and a year later, that he was officially declared lost.
"When they righted the ship, two years later, of course all the remains were skeletons," said Charles. "The bones were all mixed together...co-mingled. Back then, the only way they had of identity remains, skeleton remains, were dental records."
The remains were buried in Hawaii until the Navy began a new effort to identify Pearl Harbor remains in recent years. Kane's nephews, including Charles, provided DNA.
"It's been long enough where I had even given up on them even identifying my uncle's remains," said Charles.
That is until August, when niece Kathleen Kane Golden received word that Uncle Albert's remains had been identified.
Their only regret is that their dad isn't alive to welcome him.
"It's almost too late for my dad's generation," said Charles. "Look around, it's only nieces and nephews that are alive and we're in our 60s and 70s. Time is running out on some of these families."
Kane will be buried on Friday, December 7 at DFW National Cemetery at 11:00 a.m., 77 years after he gave his life our country.
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