Whatever Happened To … ?

September 24, 2009

Twenty years ago, I started researching my family history by interviewing my older relatives, and one of the first things I learned was a mystery.

My father’s uncle, Vernard Bailey (the one in the WWII uniform) came home from the war with PTSD (though they didn’t call it that, of course). He was on disability, and though he didn’t live there, he had his checks sent to his mother’s house. One month, probably in the early 1950s, he picked up his check and … disappeared.


No one heard from him again, and most people assumed he had been killed, perhaps in some brawl. For twenty years, I’ve looked for information about him without any luck (it didn’t help that I didn’t even know his birthday).

Then earlier this month, I got an email from his daughter. She knew no more than I did about his death because her parents split up before he disappeared, and no one on her side of the family kept in touch with his family.

Yesterday she sent me an email. Vernard Bailey was born 17 April 1921 in Floyd County, Kentucky, and died 7 December 1980 in Alachua County, Florida. He is buried at Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Florida. He left a widow and four children.

Sad that he felt the need to break off all contact with his siblings and mother, but it was comforting to hear that he had a long and completely life after all.