Pervis Robison Jr.

They Lost A Son

By Gordon F. Adams

The long hours of hopeful waiting ended at 10:45 p.m. Thursday.

"Pervis ... previously reported missing ... is reported to have died April 10, 1963 ..." the telegram from the U.S. Navy department read.

They knew that their only son, Pervis Jr., would never return to his modest two-story house on Passaic Avenue, Nutley, N.J. He had been a seaman aboard the ill-fated U.S. Submarine Thresher lost at sea last week.

The Tragic News Comes

First came the dreaded telegrams from naval authorities, followed by visits from the district naval commander ... almost as if in preparation for the tragic news to come.

Six arrived in quick succession, assuring the grieving parents that every effort was being done to help their son and his shipmates aboard the missing submarine.

State Representative Peter Rodino telephoned to express his concern. Mayor Harry W. Chenoweth called, the official voice of all Nutley residents. His former teachers called. Even strangers got in touch with the Robisons to express their heartfelt sorrow.

He Wanted To Succeed

Pervis, who attended Nutley schools all his life, and who had been a track star at Nutley High School, was barely 20 years old when he had been assigned to the atomic submarine Thresher.

"I want to do the best I can, Mom," he had told his mother, Margaret.

Young Pervis had been ambitious. He had wanted to succeed.

The Nutley Sun, April 1963: They Lost A Son
by Gordon F. Adams

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