Lorraine Mannarino broke down in tears as she was presented with an American flag during a memorial service for World War II veteran Ed Hall on Friday.
Veterans Day seemed appropriate for dozens to gather at Las Vegas’ Masonic Memorial Temple to pay tribute to Hall, an Army veteran who was Nevada’s last known living survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack. He died on November 2nd at the age of 99.
“He was the greatest man I’ve ever known,” said Hall’s longtime friend and Lorraine Mannarino’s husband, Gregory Mannarino, 57.
Hall lived with Gregory and Lorraine Mannarino before his death in early November. Gregory Mannarino, who has known Hall since 2017, said Hall has become like a second father to him and his wife.
“A lot of people know Ed for the big things, like his role in Pearl Harbor and all the heroic deeds he did,” said Lorraine Mannarino, 37, through tears. “But to me, I only knew him as an old friend who wanted nothing more than to tell jokes and make people smile.”
Gregory Mannarino said Hall was smiling and joking until the last time he saw him, the day before Hall’s death.
D’nese Davis, 60, said she’s known Hall for 10 to 12 years, since they crossed paths through their work as a veterans’ attorney. Davis recalled that Hall loved telling stories, especially to young people.
Davis said Hall often attended veterans’ barbecues, which she hosted, and that she helped him speak at several events.
“He was trying to pick up the other veterans and say he admired what they were doing,” Davis said.
German Tirado, 37, remembered Hall as a kind, caring and energetic person who was always telling stories to the other members of Daylite Masonic Lodge No. 44. He knew Hall through the Masonic lodge of which both were members.
“He was always the best-dressed man in the box,” said Tirado.
He recalled being present when members of the Loge Hall gave his high school diploma in 2017. Tirado recalled Hall telling the Review-Journal that the last thing on his bucket list was living to be 100, a goal he missed by a year.
Hall didn’t have a diploma until 2017 because he left high school to enlist in the Army at age 16. He was 18 when he survived the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
Hall was cleaning a frying pan in a canteen at Hickam Field (now Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam) when Pearl Harbor was attacked. After ducking for cover and regaining his sanity, Hall impounded a pickup truck and drove around the base with a medic for hours, rescuing as many wounded as he could find. At one point, multiple bullets went through the truck’s cab, missing the two inside but shattering the windshield.
Hall lost friends that day, something Gregory Mannarino said Hall never forgot.
“One thing Ed carried with him his entire life was why he lived and so many other people didn’t,” said Gregory Mannarino. “And I think that was something he had a hard time coming to terms with.”
Hall’s ashes are interred at Punchbowl Memorial Cemetery in Hawaii, according to Gregory Mannarino.
“All he wanted was to be back near the people he lost 81 years ago,” said Gregory Mannarino.