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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Auxiliary of Russell-Toycen American Legion Post 131 of Colfax needs your help in solving a mystery.
Loretta Logslett, who served as the secretary of the Colfax American Legion Auxiliary for decades, died last December.
Among the records Loretta Logslett kept was a hand-written list of Gold Star Mothers.
One of the names on the list of mothers who had lost a son or a daughter who served in the military was Liz Irwin.
Kathie Irwin, Liz Irwin’s daughter-in-law, attended the most recent meeting of the American Legion Auxiliary and said there was no logical reason why Liz Irwin’s name would be on the list of Gold Star Mothers, said Kathy Dunbar, president of the American Legion Auxiliary.
Kathie’s husband, Jim Irwin, is very much alive, and Jim’s sister also is alive, Dunbar said, adding that Liz Irwin only had the two children and did not raise any other children.
Dunbar noted that in certain times of our history, such as the 1918 influenza pandemic, the Great Depression, and World War II, friends or neighbors would take in children who had lost a parent or parents if there were no other relatives to care for the children.
So why is Liz Irwin on the Gold Star Mothers list?
Dunbar said she had hoped the state-level organization of the American Legion Auxiliary would have some records, but as it turns out, the state organization has very little in the way of records.
Although Liz Irwin’s name is included at the end of the list, and the list starts with World War I mothers, Dunbar said she supposed the veteran who died could have been from World War II, Korea or Vietnam.
Dunbar has been trying to think of all the possibilities.
Is it possible there is another person by the last name of Irwin from Colfax, or at least from this part of Wisconsin, who died in a war but who is not related to Liz Irwin?
Is it possible the woman’s first name was Liz or Elizabeth but in a moment of distraction, Loretta Logslett wrote down Irwin without thinking and then never got around to correcting it for whatever reason?
Is it possible the veteran’s first name was Irwin?
It is possible the veteran was from another part of the state and was associated with the name Elizabeth/Liz or Irwin/Erwin (either as a first or last name) and someone told Loretta Logslett that the veteran’s mother lived in Colfax, and Loretta Logslett jotted down “Liz Irwin” as a reminder to herself to check?
So far, none of the sleuthing done by Dunbar and other members of the American Legion Auxiliary has yielded any results.
If anyone is able to shed any light on this mystery, you can contact LeAnn at the Colfax Messenger office at 715-962-3535 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.