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Although she tried to convince herself otherwise, there was no doubt what Rose Guilfoyle had heard.

The man on the news had just said the name of his brother’s ship.

“I remember it distinctly: I had the radio on, it was around 10 p.m. – and he said the USS Rowan was torpedoed and sunk today,” she said.

“It just grabbed my heart,” she said, clenching her fist against her chest at the memory.

Guilfoyle, who was in Kansas City, where she had recently moved for work, knew it was too late to call her parents back in Greeley, Kansas.

“My dad always went to bed early,” she said.

So until morning she should keep the sad news to herself.

“I stayed awake all night,” she said. “There was no way I could sleep after this.”

Now, over 78 years after her brother died in World War II, she made her a Gold Star sister, 99-year-old Guilfoyle is still missing by Merle Bowman.

In his mind, he is still what he was then – the gangly boy who needed suspenders to hold his pants up.

Who could dance the foxtrot with the best of them.

Who had been a friend to her, and had even taught her to swim.



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