Cedar Rapids woman gets to know her late father with 400 WWII letters

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 6:25 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - More than 80 years after World War II, people today still take time to remember those lost, through ceremonies, museums and monuments.

And one Cedar Rapids woman got to learn about her dad, who died when she was a baby while fighting overseas.

Judie Tosh was born during World War II. Her father was in England with the Army Air Corps. Now, years after his passing, she has pages of memories she’s been able to create.

”He loved to fly,” she said.

Judie Tosh’s father Virgil Prior served in World War II from 1941 until he was declared missing in action in 1944.

”They were on a bombing run to France,” said Tosh.

Judie was just six weeks old when he died.

More than 50 years later, after her mom died in 1999, she found a sack full of letters.

”I was just so astounded by the volume!”

400 letters to be exact. They were letters her dad had written to Judie’s mother during his time in the service.

”He always started out ‘my darling wife,’” Tosh said.

With each pen stroke, Judie said it was a way to get to know her father, even though they never met.

”That’s how I knew my dad! Was reading his thoughts,” she said. ”Over time, I’ve read them all.”

Judie said out of all 400, there’s one letter she loves the most.

”The one that he got that he knew I was born. He was very excited. He named me. He was counting on a girl. They didn’t even have a boy’s name,” said Tosh. ”He said ‘I ran around the barracks screaming it’s a girl!!’ So, that might be one of my favorite ones.”

”I should be home to sort of supervise things, but I guess you’ll get along okay,” Judie said, reading one of her father’s letters.

His words closing the gap between decades, proof of his devotion to his young wife, and baby daughter.

”But it was really something, I think, that she kept all that,” said Tosh. “He wrote so much!”