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  1. #1

    OR - Esther Gavin: "The War Bride", 32, Portland, 1952

    The Portland Police Bureau has assigned a missing-persons detective to follow up on leads to the whereabouts of the Icelandic war bride who came to Portland in 1946 and disappeared in early 1952, perhaps due to foul play.

    Detective Carol Thompson has taken over the file opened by the bureau's cold-case unit, which last summer had looked into the disappearance of Ragna Esther Sigurdardottir Gavin. When she was last seen, she was 23.


    Lots more to come on this case.


  2. #2
    Bringing this over from another thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ms Suzanne View Post
    I was just reading this story and it reminded me of this little boy in the box.Maybe something like this happened with him too.The whole story.Maybe someone searching in their family tree will find out who he is.


    More at the link.

    The War Bride
    Full of hope, a young bride left her native Iceland in 1946 to live in Portland with her husband. But the violent marriage of Esther and Larry Gavin ended in divorce, with their son and daughter placed in the care of the Waverly Baby Home. Then Esther disappeared. For 60 years, her family looked for her and the children, with no luck. Then a string of connections, brought together in Iceland and Oregon, led to the heart of the mystery. Read the story below or download the audio version (mp3).

    Chapter 1: Two letters
    Chapter 2: His first marriage
    Chapter 3: Iceland calling

    Chapter 4: Allen vs. Allen
    Chapter 5: Two more letters

    Chapter One: Two letters
    Esther Gavin, Larry Gavin, Florence GavinA clip of a Feb. 16, 1946, photograph out of The Oregonian, announcing the arrival of war bride Esther Gavin from Iceland to Portland. Pvt. Emerson Lawrence Gavin is at center; his mother Florence Gavin is at right.

    Buried inside The Oregonian of Feb. 16, 1946, a story carried the headline, "11 G.I. Brides End Journey."

    The ninth paragraph took note of Esther Sigurdardottir and reported that she had "traded her Icelandish name for that of Mrs. Emerson Gavin just last January 4. Blonde, blue-eyed Mrs. Gavin and her soon-to-be-discharged soldier husband will live temporarily at the home of Mr. and Mrs. E.C. Gavin, 2826 S.E. 101st Ave."

    A big photograph accompanied the story. Esther, a beauty with a sweet smile, a button nose and a beginner's English, gazes directly into the camera. She is 18. Her tall, handsome husband of six weeks, Army Pvt. Emerson Lawrence Gavin, called Larry, is 22. The photo captures him in profile; his expression blends happiness and fear. At right, his mother, Florence, hovers, looking away.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    I read the articles above - thank you for posting these! Interesting to find that Larry Gavin's grandson is Danial Butts who killed Police Chief Ralph Painter of Ranier, Oregon a year ago.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Very interesting. A lot of research and work went into getting the information they do have.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Suburb of Cleveland, Ohio
    Can't wait to read more! What an interesting a sad tale-chances are they may never find answers, but at least they found each other.

  6. #6

  7. #7


    The War Bride: Icelandic woman who disappeared after a brutal marriage in Oregon created a new life

    Lou Ann LeMaster answered her phone last month to hear her daughter say, It's the weirdest thing, I just got a friend request on Facebook from someone in Iceland.

    LeMaster didn't know anyone in Iceland, but she joked to her daughter, Maybe it's your grandmother trying to get in touch with you, and the two women laughed a little but sadly.


    But Oddsdottir had just discovered something: The war bride had lived on. She had changed her name, erased her past, built her new world.

    Lou Ann LeMaster and her daughter listened in shock as all the puzzling secrets of Esther's life snapped into focus, and for the first time, they could see her clearly.


    Now a trip to Iceland is a must, and Lou Ann can't wait to see her mother's family and give them the certainty that no matter what had happened to the war bride from Iceland, the American she became chose to live happily ever after.

    More: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/i...woman_who.html

    Esther changed her identity. She altered her name slightly to Radna Esther Isholm, changed her place of birth from Iceland to France, and married Arthur Vickers, who was in the Navy. She never said much about her past, and claimed her parents had been killed in World War II. She had three children, one of whom died in a car crash in his teens. Arthur Vickers died in 1985 and Esther never remarried. She died of cancer in 2002.

    This summer, a friend of Esther’s searching relatives found out about her new identity and found her obituary, and contacted her children who were listed as survivors.


    Esther in 2002

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Wow, is right, SheWho! Wow!

    May she rest in peace now.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    OMG! What a story! Wow!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Orange County, California
    I love to see these old cases get resolved. So happy for the families.

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