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Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Roger Lewis Serafine
U. S. Navy
July 16, 1916 - December 7, 1955
Remains Not Recovered

Gold Star Mother
Mary " Mollie" (Green) Serafine

Chief Aviation Ordnanceman (AOC) Roger Lewis "Bill" Serafine, U.S. Navy [July 16, 1916 - December 7, 1955] was born to John Baptist Serafine [January 20, 1888  - May 30, 1959] and Catherine Mollie (Green) Serafine [ October 2, 1886 - Aug 7, 1926] at Del Rio, Val Verde County, Texas.  (The family originally spelled their name "Serafini.")

After his mother’s death his father moved the family to Matagorda County c1927/28 and originally settled at Bay City. John married Mrs. Lela (Baxter) Nini in 1929, and the marriage ended in divorce in 1938. After living in Bay City for a while the family then moved to Gulf. Roger graduated from Gulf High School in 1936 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 10, 1938 and made a career of his Naval service. He married Eloise Nolan in 1955 in Hawaii during the time he was attached to Patrol Squadron 6. On the night of December 7, 1955 the patrol aircraft he was on, while making a low altitude searchlight run on a snorkling submarine, crashed into the sea at a high rate of speed. The aircraft sank in 2-3 minutes with only the pilot, co-pilot and navigator escaping. There was no indication of escape by the remaining 7 crew members and no remains were recovered. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Eloise, his father John, step-mother Leona Elizabeth (Urban) (married John on 26 June, 1943 at Wharton, TX), brother John Jr., sister Katheryn, step-brother Wallace E. Nini and step-sister Addie L. Nini. Eloise returned to Bay City where she gave birth to their son, Roger Lewis Serafine, Jr. in 1956.

John "Jack" & Roger "Bill" Serafine pictured at right.

Roger Serafine's Parents Get Wire Of His Missing

Roger L. Serafine, 38, a career Navy man who was stationed aboard a destroyer at Barber's Point, Pearl Harbor on December 7, 19 41 when the Japanese attack came, apparently died in the same vicinity 14 years later on the anniversary date, victim, apparently of a naval plane crash [in the] Hawaiian Islands.

The son of Mr. and Mrs. John [L.] Serafine of Bay City, was reported as one of the seven men all missing from the crash of the two-engine Navy patrol bomber which crashed at sea during air-submarine maneuvers on December 7.

Three men, a pilot, co-pilot, and navigator were rescued, but [all] hope is believed gone for finding the seven others on the crew Mr. Serafine reported Friday after calling his daughter-in-law at Honolulu Thursday night.

Due back in the states in March, the apparent victim of the plane crash, was within two years of navy retirement. Mrs. Serafine, the former Eloise Nolan was residing in Honolulu .

She told the victim's father by telephone that there was apparently no hope for rescue.

Mr. and Mrs. Serafine, parents, received notification from Vice Admiral L.  Holloway, Jr., chief of naval personnel that Roger Lewis Serafine, USN, is missing as the result of the crash at sea.

The victim was a graduate of Old Gulf schools in 1930 and had been a career naval man.

The wire received by Serafine's parents, read:

Mr. and Mrs. John Serafine ___8, Second St. , Bay City

With deep concern that I must inform you that a report just received states that your son, Roger Lewis Serafine, USN, is missing as the result of a plane crash at sea off the Hawaiian Islands on December 7. A thorough search is being made

for the men and three survivors have been rescued. Your anxiety is understood and as soon as further information is received you will be promptly informed. My

thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of uncertainty.

Admiral J. L. Holloway Jr.
Chief of Naval Personnel

The Daily Tribune, Friday, December 9, 1955

Search For Serafine Discontinued By Navy

Roger Lewis Serafine, 38, Bay City career Navy man who was reported missing December 7 in a plane crash off the Hawaiian Islands is now reported dead by the chief of naval personnel. A wire received here by Mr. and Mrs. John B. Serafine indicated the extensive searches in the area for Serafine and six other victims of the crash have been discontinued. Three persons, the pilot, the co-pilot and navigator were rescued.

The victim's wife, the former Elouise Nolan, was residing in Honolulu at the time of the tragedy. She had informed his parents in Bay City by telephone that there was little hope for rescue.

Serafine, within two years of Navy retirement was due back in the states in March. He had been at Pearl Harbor stationed on a destroyer on December 7, 19 41 . Fourteen years later on air-submarine maneuvers he was killed. The victim was a 1930 graduate of Old Gulf Schools.

Seven men were lost in the crash of the two-engine Navy patrol bomber.

Mr. and Mrs. Serafine, parents, received notification of their son's being missing Friday and later received the following wire from Vice Admiral J. L. Holloway, Jr., chief of Naval personnel:

"Mr. and Mrs. John Serafine,

"With deep regret I must inform you that your son Roger Lewis Serafine, USN, previously reported missing is now reported dead as the result of a plane crash 7 Dec. 1955 . The extensive searches have been discontinued and it is regretted that his remains were not recovered. You will receive details by letter from his commanding officer. Your son died while serving his country and I extend you my sincerest sympathy in your great loss.

Vice Admiral J. L. Holloway Jr.
Chief of Naval Personnel."

The Daily Tribune, Monday, December 12, 1955

Del Rio Woman Dies Here


Miss Mollie S. Green had resided here only a month.

Miss Mollie Serafine Green [Mrs. Mollie Green Serafine], 39, died at a local sanitarium at 7 o'clock Saturday night after a residence here of one month. She came here from Del Rio, and the body will be sent to that city by Johnson's Funeral Parlor some time Sunday for funeral services and burial Monday.

She leaves her parents, Mr. & Mrs. Bartholomew Green, Del Rio, seven brothers, Willie, Harper, and Walter of Ozona; John, Langtry; Roy and Robert, Sanderson; Henry, San Antonio; Albert, Lamesa; two sisters, Mrs. Maude Ellis, Sanderson; Mrs. Jessie Cochran, Sanderson.

San Angelo Daily Standard, Sunday, Aug. 8, 1926, Section 1, page 16, columns 6 & 7.

Courtesy of Art Manuel


Picture courtesy of
Dean Hildreath &
Shirley D. Vachon

Funeral Services Held Sunday For Mr. John Baptist Serafine

Long time county resident, Mr. John Baptist Serafine, 71, died Saturday, May 30, [1959] at his residence in Cedar Lane.

Mr. Serafine, who had been a resident of Matagorda County for nearly thirty three years, was born in Del Rio on January 20, 1888. He was a member of the Methodist Church and the Woodmen of the World.

He is survived by his wife Leona Elizabeth, son: John B. of Channelview and step-sons Loyd Urban and Wallace E. Nini; daughter Katheryn and step-daughter Addie L. Nini; sisters: Mrs. Dorothy “Dora” Rembla and Emma Serafine of Del Rio; daughter-in-law Mrs. Eloise Serafine of Bay City and grandson Roger Lewis Serafine, Jr. of Bay City; three other grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

He was preceded in death by his parents Pacifico and Catherine Serafine, his first wife Mary “Mollie” Green Serafine, his daughter Margaret and his son AOC Roger Lewis Serafine, US Navy who was killed in a military plane crash off Hawaii in 1955. 

Funeral services were held at the Taylor Bros. Funeral Home Chapel Sunday, May 31, [1959] with the Reverend Leslie LeGrand of the First Methodist Church of Bay City officiating.  Interment will be at [Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery] Del Rio, Texas under the direction of Dorman Funeral Home of Del Rio.

Obituary constructed from funeral home records.  No local obituary was published in the Daily Tribune.
Photo courtesy of Dean Hildreath & Shirley D. Vachon

Eloise Nolan Serafine
July 29, 1929 - May 13, 2009

Eloise Nolan Serafine peacefully passed into Gods arms on May 13, 2009, after a long battle with Parkinsons disease. Eloise was born on July 29, 1929, in Bay City, Texas to Ella Denning and John J. Nolan. After retirement from Richards Drilling Company, she relocated to Austin, Texas to be near her children and grandchildren.

She is survived by: her son and daughter-in-law, Roger and Laurie Serafine; one sister, Veronica Allen of Santa Fe, Texas; one sister-in-law, Ernestine H. Nolan of San Antonio, Texas; two grandchildren, Caitlin and Garrett Serafine of Austin, Texas; numerous nieces and nephews.

Eloise was preceded in death by her husband, Roger L. Serafine, Sr., her grandson, Nicholas Cline, and eight siblings.

The family wishes to thank Albert Horn, MD and Rhonda Ward, RN, FNP of Austin Neurological Clinic, Crystal Wiggins of Caring Senior Services of Austin, Fran St. Peter, RN, LCSW of Vista Care, and her wonderful caregiver and friend, Debby Torres. Special thanks to close friends and neighbors who helped Eloise through her courageous battle with Parkinsons.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Bay City Tribune, Published May 19, 2009

Family pictures courtesy of Roger Serafine, Jr. and Shirley Vachon.

Patch courtesy of Patrol Squadron Six VP-6
For more information see Patrol Squadron Six VP-6


Copyright 2008 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Apr. 9, 2008
May 19, 2009