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WWII sketch reunited with Valley family after more than 70 years

Posted: 10:26 PM, Dec 07, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-08 05:33:15Z

Every day more and more veterans from the World War II pass away. It is an unavoidable tragedy, but 'The Greatest Generation' still lives on in other ways.

One Valley family has been able to learn something new about their dad, more than 25 years after he passed away.

"He was drafted early in life," said daughter Edie Lamphere.

Lyle Lane was a young pilot in 1944.

"He was in a marauder that flew over at Normandy on D-Day," Lamphere said. After World War II, he also served in Korea."It wasn’t something that he talked about a lot."

Unfortunately, Lane passed away in 1992.

So like many children of veterans, Lamphere and her siblings were left with old pictures, but lots of questions.

"I always wanted to have some kind of connection or know someone who served with him or any piece of the puzzle," said Lamphere, who lives in the Valley.

A piece recently came in the mail. A sketch of Lane from 1943, drawn by another man at March Air Force Base during their first week of basic training.

"I was thinking this is going to be my father. This is going to be a version of him that I’ve never seen," said Lamphere, opening the package. "And it is. For 70 years it sat in a sketchpad."

The sketchpad was owned by Milford Zornes, a great artist and veteran.

After he passed, his children worked to find the families of his portrait subjects.

"[They] started trying to find a family member in 2016 and they sent out many letters and many phone calls and emails," Lamphere said.

After two years of searching, and more than 25 years without seeing a new photo of her dad, Edie finally got the portrait.

"It was overwhelming. It was such a young, innocent version of him. One that I have never seen," Lamphere said. One that Lane's grandson had never seen either. "This will never leave our family; it will forever be with us."

Zornes' family successfully reunited more than 30 portraits with other veterans' families. Zornes was so talented that he was tapped to be an official war artist. He lived to be 100-years-old, and his paintings sell for thousands of dollars.