Ray Chavez is honored aboard the USS Midway in 2014. Navy photo

Ray Chavez, the oldest survivor of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, was laid to rest at Miramar National Cemetery Thursday after a procession around San Diego County.

Chavez died in his sleep Nov. 21 at age 106. A private funeral for Chavez was held at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Poway before his casket was taken to and buried at Miramar National Cemetery Thursday afternoon.

Along the way, the procession passed throngs of county residents who paid their respects to Chavez, a San Diego native.

“He was a true patriot who protected our nation during the attacks on Pearl Harbor and throughout World War II,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said at the service. “And of course a long-time, active, great member of our San Diego community.”

At the service, Faulconer issued a proclamation, declaring Dec. 13, 2018 to be Ray Chavez Day in San Diego.

Chavez served as a quartermaster aboard multiple ships in the war’s Pacific Theater, including a minesweeper stationed in Honolulu the morning of the attack. Chavez eventually rose to the rank of chief and served on transport ships throughout the war.

Chavez has been honored myriad times in recent years for his service in the Navy during the war. In 2016, he participated in a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii. Earlier this year, he met President Donald Trump during a Memorial Day celebration at the White House.

“Ray was honored to have served his country and to fight among heroes and loved meeting his fellow comrades,” Chavez’s family said in a statement. “He cherished his time going to talk to the kids at schools because he doesn’t want them to forget Pearl Harbor.”

–City News Story