A Suitcase of Memories

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Californian trying to get items he acquired at yard sale back to WWII vet from Hastings, Iowa, or his family

By Joe Foreman, Editor

A California resident is reaching out to readers of The Opinion-Tribune in hopes of tracking down a World War II veteran with Mills County ties or his living survivors.


Four years ago, Chris Lackey of Rocklin, Calif., bought an old metal suitcase and its contents for $10 at a yard sale. Once home, Lackey discovered the contents of the suitcase included numerous mementoes for a gentleman named Marion R. Hall of Hastings, Iowa. The contents included numerous family photos, a 1940 high school diploma from Logan, Iowa, and Miller Stockman Western Wear catalogs from the late 1940s.

In December, Lackey attempted to mail the contents of the suitcase to Hall’s last known address in Hastings, but the envelope came back “Return To Sender”. That’s when he contacted The Opinion-Tribune via e-mail.

“The purpose of my e-mail concerns my attempt to find Marion R. Hall, a WWII veteran whose last known address was in Hastings, and reunite him and/or his family with some pictures, letters and other personal belongings,” Lackey said. “I don’t want any money for his old rusted metal suit case and contents that I bought for $10 at a yard sale around four years ago, except whatever it costs for me to send it to him/them or have them pick it up."

Lackey said he attempted to contact Mr. Hall when he first bought the suitcase, but was unsuccessful.

“I recently came across the suitcase again while cleaning out my storage shed,” he said.  “I’m contacting your paper to see if you can help since I’ve run into a brick wall. Most recently, I conducted an online search to no avail and even paid an online service who gave me his last known address, P.O. Box 184, in Hastings. If I can’t find him, I’m afraid that I’ll just have to throw it away and I really don’t want to do that.”

Any person with knowledge of Mr. Hall or the whereabouts of his living relatives is asked to contact The Opinion-Tribune (712-527-3191 or news@opinion-tribune.com).