Eight days after we published that photo from Stephanie, the “history mystery” is solved – items found in her attic are in the hands of relatives of the man in the photos, George Lee Hoke. She was getting leads via a Facebook group, commenters here, and people outside West Seattle after a TV station picked up the story. Earlier this week, we pointed her to this comment on the story, from Sandi … and today, Stephanie just sent word that the connection’s been made:
The two cigar boxes found in my attic have been given to George Lee Hoke’s son. Rollie is thrilled to get the photos! They are a treasure to him and his family. They are some of the sweetest, friendliest, most down to earth people I have ever met. The woman in the picture that I posted is the woman who lived in my house for over 50 years. She is Rollie’s mom, Detta, who passed away years ago.
Detta, Stephanie explains, was married to George Hoke, but after they divorced, she remarried, and both she and Rollie (Roland) took a different last name: “Roland knew very little of his father and was raised by his step-father. He eventually changed his last name back to Hoke because he knew that was his father’s name.” George Hoke had returned to his home state, Missouri, remarrying and starting another family. They were reached first in this quest but told Stephanie that she should find Roland, whose son, it turns out, lives “5 minutes” from her home in White Center. She adds:
The most touching part of the story was that these two cigar boxes were very well hidden in the attic. Roland said multiple times that he thought he cleaned the attic out really well after his mom had to move out because of her health. My husband had been up there a lot too, and only when we were ripping out ducting, did the boxes appear. Rollie and I both believe that those boxes were hidden up there by his mother for him to find later. When she was older, she must have forgotten about them. Rollie said he had so many questions that he wished he would have asked Detta, but just never did. The boxes are the closest connection he has with his dad. I am so thankful for all of the interest and help that I got with this endeavor.