Family of WWII veteran found after his records were found in South Bend woman’s basement

Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 4:54 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - UPDATE: Since this story first aired... The family of a World War II veteran whose military records were found in a Michiana woman’s home has been found.

Lori Hight discovered Robert Kelly’s military documents and honors in her south bend home when she moved there late last year. She had spent the last two months trying to track down his family so that they could have his mementos that she found in the basement.

Hight says his family contacted her after our story aired earlier this evening.

Robert Kelly served in World War II and was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps.


For the last two months, Lori Hight has been on a quest to find the family of a World War II veteran. She found his military records and photo albums in her basement when she moved into her home in December.

“There’s rolls of vacation film, photo albums that family members should have - not a stranger,” remarked Hight.

Hight discovered military papers and patches belonging to Robert Wesley Kelly, a Marine who was honorably discharged, and appears to have had a child named Dana, born in March 1962 in Chicago.

Kelly was born on February 5th, 1921 in Marion, Illinois.

Since December, Hight has looking for Kelly’s relatives on Facebook, by contacting the local Marines, and at one point, she found his obituary online.

“And so [the obituary] told me who the crematory was, and they couldn’t help me.” Hight added.

Returning the belongings that Hight found in her basement is especially meaningful to her.

“I’m a Air Force veteran, and that’s really why I did this. If it was my information left in a house, I would want someone to search out my family and give it to them instead of just throwing it in the trash. He’s a Marine - I won’t hold it against him - but he’s a veteran. He served in World War II. He deserves some recognition, and he deserves his stuff to go to his family,” Hight said.

Hight said she had troubled relocating Kelly’s obituary but recalled that he had died several years ago. She added that is unclear if Kelly or his relatives previously lived in her present home.

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