Letter From WWII Soldier To His Mom Delivered To His Widow After 76 Years

by Matthew Memrick

A 76-year-old WWII letter found its destination on Wednesday, but neither the sender nor the recipient was still alive.

WFXT reported that Army Sgt. John Gonsalves wrote to his mother after the official end of World War II. The U.S. soldier stationed in Germany sent the letter on Dec. 6, 1945, to his mother in Woburn, Massachusetts. Gonsalves was 22 at the time.

Post office employees said the unopened letter recently arrived at Pittsburgh’s U.S. Postal Service distribution facility.

Letter Talks About Lousy WWII Food

The WWII letter, revealed to the TV station, seemed like a normal one between mother and son. Gonsalves’s widow read the letter to news outlets.

Her husband died in 2015. The mother’s death date was not available.

“Dear, Mom. Received another letter from you today and was happy to hear that everything is okay,” the letter reads. “As for myself, I’m fine and getting along okay. But as far as the food, it’s pretty lousy most of the time.” He signed the letter: “Love and kisses, Your son Johnny. I’ll be seeing you soon, I hope.”

USPS tracked down Angelina “Jean” Gonsalves for the letter. Gonsalves said she met her husband five years after he sent the letter. John and Angelina Gonsalves had five children during a 61-year marriage.

Boston25 News reported that Gonsalves opened a package on Dec. 9 containing the sentimental World War II note from her brave would-be husband to his mother.

With the long-delayed letter, USPS employees also sent their own letter. The post read, “delivering this letter was of utmost importance to us.”

“We are uncertain where this letter has been for the past seven-plus decades, but it arrived at our facility approximately six weeks ago,” the letter added.  

Basically, there’s no way to tell if the letter got stuck somewhere in Germany or if it fell under a sorting machine along the way to the New England location.

World War II Army Sergeant’s Widow Happy About Delayed Letter

After the Gonsalves family received the letter, they called the Pennsylvania facility and thanked officials.

“Imagine that! Seventy-six years!” Angelina Gonsalves told WFXT-TV. “I just I couldn’t believe it. And then just his handwriting and everything. It was just so amazing.”

Though the 89-year-old woman spent another holiday without her husband, she said this year, “it’s like he came back to me, you know?”

The widow told Boston 25 News that her late husband “was a good man. He really was. Everybody loved him.”

In 2018, another delayed WWII letter made its way to the addressee. A Post Office custodian in Elgin, Illinois, uncovered a delievered letter that has been missing for 45 years.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Edward Gathman mailed a letter dated Dec. 27, 1944. The man served in World War II in the Army and worked at the Post Office as an assistant postmaster.

Gathman likely kept the letter at his workspace as a WWII keepsake. He left his job there in 1973.