John Roy Brokenshire, known as "Roy," was born in Cook County, Illinois, on October 15, 1894, the son of John J. Brokenshire and Mary Clark. Roy's four younger brothers, Herbert, Robert, Gordon, and Douglas, all served in the United States Navy. Roy Brokenshire attended the University of Michigan, where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta, and enlisted in the navy before the country's official entry into World War I. He served onboard the USS Louisiana after being transferred from the Boston Navy Yard in June 1917, and eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant. He died on September 28, 1940.
Lillian Catherine Dow was born to Robert and Marion T. Dow of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, on February 1, 1896.