Christmas 1946: War’s Aftermath

Christmas 1946

Earlier that year, Clabe and Leora Wilson had been notified that their son Dale had been officially declared dead. That same week, a telegram had notified them that Danny’s remains had been located in Austria, and that he had been Killed in Action on the date he was reported MIA.

By the end of 1946, the war had been over for more than a year. Their oldest son Delbert and his family, including toddler Leora Darlene and baby Donna, were living with them then in the little house south of Perry. 

That spring, Clabe and Leora had taken their first longer drive in the Plymouth. Clabe had only driven home from Des Moines, but they decided to spend Mother’s Day in Omaha with Leora’s mother.

Later that month, they took flowers to Violet Hill Cemetery on Decoration Day. A cenotaph was placed next to Junior’s grave, to remember his brothers Dale and Danny who’d been killed in action in 1945.

Junior Wilson’s grave is on the left. The cenotaph to the right memorializes Dale and Daniel Wilson.
The surviving Wilson siblings: Delbert Wilson, Darlene (Wilson) Scar, Doris (Wilson) Neal, Donald Wilson. October 1946, Perry, Iowa

In September, 1946, Clabe collapsed and was hospitalized for a stroke. He lasted until October, when he died of a stroke and a broken heart.

Leora spent that Christmas at home with Delbert’s little family, and with visits from Doris and Warren with their two daughters, and with Darlene and Sam and their two sons. 

Leora Wilson with five of her six grandchildren, October 1946, Perry. Kids: Robert Scar, Joy Neal, Donna Wilson, Leora Darlene Wilson, Richard Scar

In just three years, Leora had lost three sons and was widowed. How grateful she was for her four surviving children, and for those six grandchildren.

Story from Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II



    • Thank you, Don. She lived to be 97, the most delightful grandma! I’m so blessed to be the sharer of her stories, to make sure those losses are never forgotten. (That trajectory was set by 1967, but I sure didn’t have any idea where it would lead.)

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