Letter to the Editor

Searching for cousin

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Dear Editor,

I am contacting you to find out what is the best way to place an article, or story, in the McCook Daily Gazette.

An 83-year-old aunt of mine, who lives in Oregon, asked me to help her find a son of hers, who was born in McCook on 17 Feb. 1942.

The boy's biological father was my uncle. He was my mother's younger brother. He and my aunt were not married until 17 Feb 1944. I am sure one can understand why they selected that date for their marriage.

My aunt and uncle were from southeastern Iowa. In those days, it was taboo to have children out of wedlock.

So, her mother and father arranged things and sent her to the St. Catherine's Hospital in McCook, Neb., to have the baby.

She worked there for a few months and on the evening of 17 Feb 1942, at 8 p.m., the baby boy was delivered by Dr. DeMay in the St. Catherine's Hospital. My aunt had made arrangements with an attorney in McCook to put the baby boy up for adoption at the time of its birth.

She cannot remember the name of the couple who adopted him. She met them briefly the morning of 18 Feb 1942 and got to hold her son a few minutes.

His name was left blank on his birth certificate and her name, Ila May Smithson, and my uncle's name, George J. Kruse Jr., were written on it as the biological mother and father.

Following the adoption, his birth certificate may have been altered to show his adoptive parents, instead of his biological parents.

I have visited McCook twice in the last three years, searching records and talking with people in hopes of finding my first cousin. My aunt recalls the couple, who adopted the baby boy, were farmers, lived 5 to 10 miles south or southwest of McCook and they were of the Catholic faith. There has been no luck finding any record of baptism and no luck finding any records from the St. Catherine's Hospital.

My cousin is 64 years of age. We do not know if his parents ever told him he was adopted. In the event he still lives in or around McCook and reads this story, I would hope he contacts me.

His biological mother would like to meet him and introduce him to his biological sister, who also lives in Oregon. His biological father, my uncle, lost his life in Japan near the end of World War II. He was a navigator on a B-29 Bomber that was shot down 13 Apr 1945 and crashed about 40 miles northeast of Tokyo. Two months ago we finally got the true story of what happened to him. Their daughter was born two months after he lost his life.

In the event my cousin still lives in, or near, McCook and sees this story, he can contact me at: John Rodenmayer, 7389 Sabre Ave., Reynoldsburg, OH 43068, Telephone: 614-759-6529, or e-mail: jprodenmay@juno.com.

Warm regards,

John Rodenmayer,

Reynoldsburg, Ohio

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