Texas Postman Finds World War II Soldier’s Undelivered Letters In His Truck And Brings Them To His Sister In Arkansas

Published May 8, 2024

After Alvin Gauthier found a series of letters from a World War II soldier named Marion Lamb, he became determined to hand deliver them to the man's surviving family.

Marion Lamb World War II Letters

Debbie SmithThe letters written by Marion Lamb, who fought in the U.S. Army during World War II.

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” can stop U.S. postal workers from delivering the mail, according to their well-known unofficial credo. And neither, apparently, can time. A postal worker in Texas just delivered a number of forgotten letters that were written by a World War II soldier between 1942 and 1944 after he discovered them in his parcel hamper.

After inexplicably finding the loose batch of letters, Alvin Gauthier went above and beyond to bring them to the family of Marion Lamb after 80 years.

Alvin Gauthier Discovers The Undelivered Letters In Texas

Marion Lamb Letter

Alvin GauthierThe letters initially offered just a few clues about their author, including the soldier’s name and a recipient address in Jacksonville, Arkansas.

Texas postal worker Alvin Gauthier was recently looking through his parcel hamper when he came upon something unusual: a Christmas card sent in 1944. As he sifted through the rest of the hamper, he was shocked to discover several more letters that had been written between 1942 and 1944.

“I was getting ready for my route and found some letters that were dated back to 1942, so World War II,” Gauthier, who has been a postal worker for about 20 years, told NBC affiliate KXAS-TV. “Being a veteran myself, so I’m like man, this is some history! Because once again, mail boosts morale for all soldiers, so my main thought was I have to find this family.”

Jo Ann Smith And Marion Lamb

Lamb FamilyJo Ann Smith and Marion Lamb. She was a toddler when Lamb was drafted during World War II.

A Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq in 2003, Gauthier was highly motivated to locate the family and deliver the letters. But he had just a couple of clues to work with. The letters revealed the soldier’s name, Marion Lamb, as well as the recipient’s address in Jacksonville, Arkansas.

After he found Marion Lamb’s obituary online, Gauthier reached out to a local television station in Jacksonville and told the story of how he’d found the letters in his postal hamper. Shortly after the segment aired, he was contacted by 84-year-old Jo Ann Smith — Lamb’s younger sister.

Marion Lamb

Lamb FamilyMarion Lamb was in the military from 1941 to 1945 and fought in the South Pacific.

After speaking with Smith, Gauthier learned about how the letters had gotten lost. Then, he became determined to hand deliver them to the family.

Reuniting The Lost Letters With The Family Of Marion Lamb

Alvin Gauthier And Jo Ann Smith

YouTubeAlvin Gauthier and Jo Ann Smith, holding the letters written by her brother 80 years before.

According to the Washington Post, Marion Lamb’s letters had long been in the possession of Jo Ann’s nephew in Tennessee. The nephew had mailed them and other letters to his Texas-based cousin, Debbie Smith, who was considered the family historian. But when they arrived, the package sealing had broken — and some of the letters had apparently fallen out.

Having solved the mystery, Gauthier offered to return the letters to Jo Ann Smith, who lives in Arkansas.

“I could have stuck them in the mail, but it’s kinda like sometimes you have to go above and beyond,” Gauthier told KXAS-TV. “Just go the extra mile… or 379 miles.”

Alvin Gauthier And Marion Lamb's Family

Debbie SmithAlvin Gauthier and Marion Lamb’s family.

On his day off and using his own money, Gauthier drove five hours to Arkansas to deliver Marion Lamb’s letters in person. Gauthier, Jo Ann Smith, and Debbie Smith — who also traveled to Arkansas for the occasion — read the letters together.

Since then, Alvin Gauthier and Marion Lamb’s family have stayed in touch.

“It restores your faith in people,” Debbie Smith told KXAS-TV. “And we saw the connection, the real connection, between military families.”

After reading about how a postal worker drove five hours to deliver letters written during World War II, discover these astonishing facts about World War II. Then, look through these color photos of World War II that bring the conflict to life.

Kaleena Fraga
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Kaleena Fraga has also had her work featured in The Washington Post and Gastro Obscura, and she published a book on the Seattle food scene for the Eat Like A Local series. She graduated from Oberlin College, where she earned a dual degree in American History and French.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Fraga, Kaleena. "Texas Postman Finds World War II Soldier’s Undelivered Letters In His Truck And Brings Them To His Sister In Arkansas." AllThatsInteresting.com, May 8, 2024, https://allthatsinteresting.com/alvin-gauthier-world-war-2-letters. Accessed May 23, 2024.