Veteran's son seeking to return father's portraits of other WWII soldiers

The son of a World War II veteran is on a mission to identify 15 soldiers who his father drew portraits of more than 70 years ago. 

Ira Dube, a Navy veteran living in Colorado, told Fox News he’s been searching for the families of veterans who served with his late father, Sgt. Stanley Dube, in what he said was the 27th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army National Guard, 108th Infantry Regiment, in the 1940s.

Dube believes the portraits are of men who served in the 105th Infantry Regiment.

His search began in January 2017, after he found the portraits — of 17 different servicemen — in his sister’s attic. 

The artwork, Dube said, is a way for the descendants of these American veterans to be able to “see how my dad saw their hero through his eyes.”

Three of the 17 drawings had identifying information on them — signatures of the men drawn.

He took the minimal information that he had to the internet, and, “totally out of the blue,” he discovered relatives of Joseph “Joner” Kratky — a soldier who was killed in action in June of 1944 in Saipan — who were “amazed” at the drawing.

Dube was also able to connect with the family of Joe “Solid Jackson” Orbe.

When he sent Orbe’s family the artwork, he included a note to the late soldier’s young granddaughter, saying: “Know your grandfather was a hero during a very difficult time in our country,” according to WPIX.

A third portrait, Dube said, had the last name "Reid" written on it. He was unable to read the first name.

reid portrait

This portrait of one serviceman was signed with the last name "Reid." The first name was unreadable.  (Lois Dube Moore)

“I keep going on to the sites, looking at pictures, trying to match sketches to those pictures,” Dube told Fox 21.

Dube told Fox News he believes the men in the drawings “were closer” to his father “as friends than maybe as comrades,” and thinks many of them are from New York or New Jersey.

He added that his father, while he didn’t speak much about his time in the war — “I don’t think anybody really did when they came back” — was always drawing or painting.

Throughout his many moves in life, whether it was to a new house or to a retirement community, Dube said it was “just amazing that my dad had kept them as many times as he moved during the decades.”


The family of Kratky, who was killed in action in 1994, told Dube they were "amazed" at the artwork his father created of the corporal.  (Ira Dube)

“They had to have a meaning in them,” he added of the artwork. Dube said Stanley continued to work on his art — even after suffering strokes — until his 80s. He passed away at 90 years old in 2009.

Dube has sent the artwork to the New York State Military Museum, which is eager to help find the family members of those pictured, he said.

“I want to return these sketches to these families,” Dube told PIX. “I’m sending the love he put into it.”

Those with information on the artwork can contact Ira Dube on Facebook or contact Jim Gandy, of the New York State Military Museum’s research center, at 518-581-5109.

Fox News' Alyssa Zauderer contributed to this report.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.