Published June 16, 2013
An Oregon man has reconnected with his late father through World War II-era letters that were recently given to him by a woman who tracked him down after receiving them as a gift.
The woman, Shawn Story, received the letters of Army veteran Delbert Steele from a friend who had bought them at an auction for her birthday, KGW.com reports.
"She brought me this box of musty old letters here where I work and I just delved into them and started reading them when I got home," Story told the station. "And I just got that feeling these don’t belong in my hands."
Story started searching on the Internet for possible family connections to the author of the letters and eventually discovered that Delbert Steele died in 1979 and had a son who lived in Portland, the station reported.
Gary Steele, who, at 55, is the same age as his father was when he died from heart disease, told KGW.com he thought he would have much more time with his father before his passing.
"My dad and I barely scratched the surface. All those questions I would have asked him I think are in here," said Gary, who was in his early twenties when his father passed away.
Delbert Steele's letters to his mother chronicled his romances while serving in the Army as well as detailed accounts of his wartime experiences, the station reported.
"Don’t worry about me mother. And write often," Delbert Steele said in a message sent through Western Union on April 29, 1944.
Gary Steele told KOIN.com the letters have provided him with the opportunity to learn about experiences that his father was reluctant to talk about.
"The most important thing that comes up is, what a Father’s Day gift this was. Because this is what a Father’s Day gift should be," he said.