Do you know this WWII veteran? A Kansas City woman is seeking the family of a mystery man

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. – This Veterans Day, a Kansas City metro woman needs help finding the family of a man she has never met.

Her father served in World War II. When he died, he left behind a lot of mementos from his service, and one of them turned out to be a mystery photograph.

“Walter remains a mystery to me,” Judith Meeks-Mayo told WDAF. “Who was Walter, and what happened?”

She held the photo in her hand as she spoke to WDAF. A soldier stands in the image, smiling.

“I have this picture of Walter B. Ward. Just identified with my father’s handwriting on the back as: Walter B. Ward, Springfield, Missouri. Fort George Wright, Spokane Washington, June 1941.”

It’s been almost 70 years since this photograph of the young man standing in front of a tent was taken. It’s been more than 40 years since Meeks-Mayo’s father from Scotland County, Missouri died. The photo was kept safe in his desk all these years.

“Evidently, it meant something to him, and because he passed away when I was 15, I will never know. But it makes for an interesting story,” Meeks-Mayo said. “I don’t know how they knew each other, other than they’re both from Missouri, and I’m guessing they both must have received some kind of training at Fort George Wright in Spokane, Washington.”

Meeks-Mayo wants to know more; she just doesn’t have much to go on. Any hope she’s had of contacting Walter B. Ward’s family has come from technology.

“So what I found was Walter B. Ward, 1915 to 1945,” she said, reading from a website. “It shows his headstone.”

The website states that Walter B. Ward is buried in Springfield National Cemetery in Springfield, Missouri. The site includes his obituary.

“It says that he had been overseas ten months and made 47 missions when they last heard from him,” Meeks-Mayo reads out loud. “Lt. Ward was a photographer for months and had flown a very fast, unarmed ship, taking pictures of enemy positions. He was killed recently over Germany.”

The site also has a listing of his relatives, most of whom are listed as living in Springfield. Meeks-Mayo said she believes she’s found some of his family members, but she hasn’t had any luck contacting them.

The labor and delivery nurse is a self-professed mystery buff. Now, she has a real life one on her hands.

“Here I have this photograph of somebody that I have no way of knowing who the family is, how to contact them.” She sat across from a reporter at her kitchen table and snapped her fingers. “And – bright idea – let’s contact WDAF and ask for a little help with this. Let’s make it go viral and national, and maybe someone will know something.”

While everyone can honor vets with American flags this weekend, Meeks-Mayo would like to honor the Ward family with a photo of their veteran.

“I would like for Walter’s picture to be returned to one of his family members because they may not have any pictures of him, or very few pictures of him, and I think it would mean something to them.”

If you know anything about Walter B. Ward’s family, Meeks-Mayo asks you contact her via email:


FOX 2 Newsletters

Sign up for a newsletter from FOX 2 to get updates about news and weather. We offer daily headlines, breaking news, severe weather, and forecast emails.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.


Latest News

More News