Former soldier reunited with wallet, 61 years later
BAMBERG, Germany — A time capsule of sorts dating back more than a half-century was discovered at U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach. It was a brown wallet.
During a garrison beautification effort last spring in Ansbach, some logistics personnel came across an old, dusty wallet while cleaning out an attic on Barton Barracks.
Inside it they discovered a money order dated Oct. 4, 1948.
“I knew it was old, but I did not think it was that old,” said Robert Howard, who was among those who found the wallet.
There were also about 20 pictures of soldiers in the green Army service uniform worn during World War II, said Lockhart Simpson, who helped track down the wallet’s owner, Jack Grose, in Marion, Ind.
“I knew how important things like this can mean to people,” Simpson said.
Among the photos was one of Grose and his mother, Pauline, before he left for the service at the age of 17. The money order for $60 discovered in the wallet had been addressed to her.
Simpson, along with Mickey Mumfrey, Ansbach’s director of logistics, decided to try to get the wallet back to Grose.
Using the address on the money order for reference, Simpson turned to John Peck, a volunteer genealogist with the Grant County (Ind.) Historical Society, for help.
It took Peck only a couple of hours to track down Grose using the ancestry.com Web site and the Marion public library database.
Grose, now 78, lives with his wife, Sue, in Marion. He was stationed in Ansbach with the 97th Signal Corps in the late 1940s and left the Army after serving for nine years.
Peck arranged a meeting with the Groses, taking with him pictures of the wallet and its contents that Ansbach personnel had e-mailed to him.
“They just went crazy,” said Peck, remembering the Groses’ reaction to seeing the pictures. “That’s when I knew I had the right person.”
Grose suffered a stroke almost 14 years ago and was unable to speak for a phone interview with Stars and Stripes, but his daughter, Trina Winegardner, spoke on his behalf.
“We were just thrilled to hear about it and doubly thrilled to get the wallet back,” Winegardner said.
“He really can’t tell us whether he lost the wallet, it was stolen or what — but you read about things like this and you never think its going to happen to you or anybody you know.”