Thursday, April 13, 2017

Finally Found the Randle Family!

For more than five years I’ve been searching for relatives of the four Randle brothers from Neosho, Missouri, all of whom served in World War II. I had just about given up on finding them when out of the blue came an email that solved the mystery.

It all started around 2012 when I bought a postcard written by Ensign Bob Randle, a Navy pilot, to his parents in Neosho. It didn’t take long to find information online about Bob and his brothers, Bill, Durant, and Jack, but I couldn’t locate any family members.

In April 2012 I wrote a letter to the editor that was published in the Neosho Daily News, asking if anyone had information about the Randles. I got several helpful replies, but they all led to dead ends. During 2016 I contacted a few people on who had ties to the family, but hit more dead ends. I searched all manner of online records, and even though I could identify several family members and tried locating them, nothing worked. I wrote about my fruitless search on this blog in 2013.

In July 2016 I was searching postcards on eBay and, much to my surprise, found one written by Bob’s brother, Durant, in 1944. In the card, Durant mentioned that he had just had a visit from Bob. I bought it. Now I had two Randle cards, but still couldn’t find the family. A few months ago I put the Randle cards in my “too tough” file and gave up. The “too tough” file has a dozen or so postcards where I’ve been unable to find family members.

I’m an early riser. As soon as I get up I make coffee and check email. A few weeks ago, I had just sat down at my computer when this message popped up at 4:55 a.m.:

“John: My children are the grandchildren of Robert (Bob) Randle, Jr. If you're still monitoring this blog I would love to chat with you.”

The message was from Debbie Randle, whose ex-husband (also named Bob Randle) is the son of the Bob Randle who wrote one of the postcards. Debbie lives in Florida.

I fired off a response and asked Debbie to call me. When we talked, she explained that she and a relative had been working on family history. The relative was searching the web and stumbled across my blog post from 2013. She told Debbie about it, and Debbie was able to contact me through the blog. I put the postcards in the mail to her the same day, and sent her a large batch of Randle family information I had gathered during my search. All four Randle brothers have passed away.

Debbie sent me some photos of Bob, including a couple in his pilot’s gear. My wife commented that he looks like a movie star. Those photos are attached.

Guess it’s time to dig out my “too tough” file and take another look. Maybe they’re not so tough, after all.

Durant Randle's postcard (above and below)

Bob Randle's postcard (above and below)

Bob Randle

Bob Randle Looking Like a Movie Star

Bob Randle in the Cockpit

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