We recently learned of the U.S.S. Spangler reunion which will be starting on Monday October 25, 2010 in San Antonio, TX.
Prompted by a great visit from Kristine’s cousin Jeannie, both nieces of the Purple Heart recipient the ship was named for, we began reading through a large stack of Uncle Donald’s letters and clippings that were still in the possession of his only living sibling and my outstanding father-in-law, nonagenarian Robert Kent Spangler.
Amid the sorrow of losing so much promise so early, what fun it was! New discoveries led to other new discoveries.
For instance, we found a letter written on the Fourth of July 1943 to Mr. and Mrs. Martin and Myrtle Elizabeth (Blue) Spangler (Donald’s mother, Mrs. Spangler christened the U.S.S. Spangler).
It was from Miss Velma V. Vogelman of Baltimore, MD who knew Donald from his Naval Academy days. She had just learned of his death through LIFE magazine, and she was writing on the anniversary of a significant day.
“On July 4, 1940 he came to Baltimore and spent the day with me and my parents. This day I shall always remember as one of the happiest in my life. He spoke often of his home and parents and how he would have enjoyed spending that particular day with you in Albion, Ind.”
We had never heard of a mention of Uncle Donald in LIFE. So we used Google Books and quickly found it in print in the July 5, 1943 issue on page 21.
We’re looking forward to following up on other discoveries from the letters and clippings. What other interesting insights to history are waiting to be found?