December 27, 2018
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GLEN LYON — A pair of Newport Twp. women are trying to reunite families with letters written home from servicemen and women during World War II.

The letters were found years ago in scrapbooks in the balcony of Holy Spirit Parish on Market Street, previously known as St. Adalbert’s Church.

During the war, members of the church sent parish bulletins, township newsletters, newspapers, letters and care packages to church members serving overseas. Many of the letters home were thank you notes to the church’s “Service Club.”

“When I found a letter written by my own father and godfather, I started to weep,” Lorrie Materewicz, 64, said. “I decided if this is the reaction I am having, I have to get these letters to other families.”


Materewicz and Sally Billings, of the Glen Lyon American Legion, have been working on the project for several years. Both are daughters of World War II veterans. Billings’ late husband also served in the war.

The duo generated a lot of interest after publishing the names of the letter writers in the church bulletin and in the township newsletter. To date, about 316 pieces have been repatriated to 123 family members,

But they still have letters from 141 people.

Materewicz and Billings operate the project independently, though copies of all the letters will be preserved at the Legion.

“We pay for it out of our own pockets because it’s a program that’s so important to us. It costs a small fortune in ink and paper, but the feedback we have gotten is the same as my reaction when I found my father’s letters,” Materewicz said.

Billings, 58, who described herself as a World War II history buff, said it’s “a project after my heart.”

She said there’s likely people in the area, and those who moved away, that would want to claim their loved one’s letters.

“Right now, the only people who know about this are in Newport,” Billings said. “We just want to get them back to where they should be. We have worn out all we could do here.”

Contact the writer:


570-821-2055, @cvbobkal


Family of World War II veterans who wrote letters to St. Adalbert’s Church in Glen Lyon could claim the letters by contacting Lorrie Materewicz at 570-736-7177.

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