The People of Pancho

At Play In The Archive

More Mystery Wife Clues

Happy Monday, People.

Those of you who have been following for a while might remember my very first post on this blog, the one having to do with my grandfather’s mystery wife, the lovely and mysterious WWII navy nurse, Dorrie. Though I haven’t written about her in a while, my folks and I are still trying to solve the puzzle of her identity. I’ve been in touch with the Navy Nurse Corps Association, and a kind person there suggested that Dorrie might have been trained at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, VA, since my grandfather is known to have trained at Quantico, VA. I’m hoping that the NNCA Historian might be able to shed further light.

In the meantime, we discovered an interesting coinkydink. Remember this photo from the Starlight Room?


Three mystery people with my Grandfather, Robert Lessiack (on the right). Date and photographer unknown.

Two mystery people with Dorrie (also a mystery) and my Grandfather Robert Lessiack (on the right). Date and photographer unknown.

In sorting through some old wedding photographs, my mom discovered that the guy on the left was actually a groomsman in my grandfather’s wedding to my grandmother, Katherine Adams Lessiack!

Here are my grandparents at the Balboa Union Church in the Panama Canal Zone on November 29, 1945. The Starlight Room man is second from the right.


So, this guy had to have known both Dorrie and my grandmother. Could he have been at both weddings? Were there even two weddings?

And, which groomsman was he? Here are my grandmother’s meticulous notes. We knew he wasn’t Robert C. Asmussen, because that friend appears in several other photographs that are actually labeled. So, our man had to be either Arthur A. Lombardo or Willie C. Haynes.

Wedding 3

Well, yesterday I solved that mystery.

I came across this photo of the same guy — skinnier and younger looking, but definitely the same guy.


And, lo and behold, the photo was labeled. Miracles do happen, People.

DorrieMysteryClues 2

The mystery Starlight-Room-possible-double-groomsman is Willie C. Haynes. How I would love to find this guy and pick his brain about the mysterious Dorrie and her relationship to my grandfather. It’s another avenue to explore. Willie, if you’re out there, please email me!

I’m still working on researching my Great-Grandfather, the world-traveling Franz Georg Leopold Lessiack, and will have much to share about him very soon. Stay tuned.

10 comments on “More Mystery Wife Clues

  1. rar12
    July 21, 2014

    I was betting that he was a ‘Lombardo’.


    • Pancho
      July 21, 2014

      You and Lew both. But nope, he’s a Haynes.


  2. Fran Meyer
    July 23, 2014

    Panch, this is totally amazing! Just love what you are doing and love your writing style. I will be checking back often. So very cool! The family is blessed with this wonderful site.
    Aunt Fran Stabler Meyer 🙂


    • Pancho
      July 23, 2014

      Thanks, Fran! So happy to see you are following. Welcome!


  3. ancestral archaeologist
    July 23, 2015

    I just discovered these posts and I’m riveted!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pancho
      July 23, 2015

      Thank you. Any suggestions? I’m all ears.


  4. Sher
    August 13, 2018

    I’m a little late to the party. Did you ever find out who the Mystery Wife was? It occurs to me that Dorrie could be a nickname for “Doreen”.


  5. Dano Smith
    September 21, 2018

    Okay Pancho, Im late to this party as well but while doing some research on Navy Nurses I came upon your blog. I think you are on the right track to discovery by going through Papa Bobs friends but maybe you are looking at it from the wrong ones. Mr. Haynes may not have been his only friend. The shoulder flash is for the 3rd Marine Division and you stated he was assigned to the 12th Marine Regt which I think was an Artillery Regt. Since the 3rd was headquartered in San Diego that’s a ways away from Norfolk. Have you tried looking up 3rd Marine Reunion sites and posting info related to Papa Bob? Maybe another Marine remembers him. If he wasn’t yet reporting to the 12th maybe he could have met Dorrie while training but OCS wasn’t long (90 day wonders) Perhaps the 12th has a reunion page? I haven’t looked but they are suggestions. Not many Nurses died during the war from combat but Im sure many died from just regular old accidents but that is hard to determine as well because of the lack of a last name, it may also be why the Navy Nurse Assn hasn’t been much help because she never joined? Seems healthy enough (and was of a course an absolute Doll) so illness seems unlikely. You can try and track down Navy convalescent hospitals as well and see if they have staff lists from WWII. Lastly did you ever try to check for marriage records from Norfolk or Alexandria or anywhere in VA? Seems obvious but you never mentioned it. It was a different time but its possible they didnt want to “do it” unless married and it could have easily been hidden so that may explain why there was no letter from his CO granting permission to marry. Still many avenues to explore. I went to bed thinking about this and awoke with these ideas. I love a good mystery but absolutely hate no resolution!


    • Pancho
      September 21, 2018

      Many great suggestions here. Thank you! The plot thickens, as I later found a Christmas card (no envelope with an address or a date, alas) with a photo of three adorable little boys, a short greeting (unmistakably in Dorrie’s handwriting) signed “Merry Christmas from Dorrie, Jim, and the boys”. Still no surname. Arrrgh! So, it appears that they remained in touch, but her identity remains a mystery.


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