Search for veteran's family ends in tearful meeting, return of dog tags
By Barbara High
Tribune Staff Writer
KEYSER - Frances Carr knew what had to be done the moment she saw the dog tags, and with the help of her family and some friends, she accomplished it.
Wednesday, Sept. 30, Carr delivered the World War II dog tags of Granville Cox to his son, Michael Cox. It was a tearful return for Frances, who had so desperately searched for the family of Granville Cox ever since the tags had been found.
The tags were actually found by her son after he purchased a 1994 Jeep Wrangler to redo it. The World War II tags were lodged between the dashboard and the windshield.
Frances’s son Ronald Carr Jr. had purchased the jeep from his brother William Carr, who had purchased it from a fellow employee at the Luke Mill. He only remembers the man’s last name was Biafore.
The tags were worn but the fingerprint on them is still visible and so is the information. Granville G. Cox was the name displayed and they were held together by a thin piece of wire.
Frances knew immediately that she had to find the family of Granville Cox. She herself married her husband before he left for the Vietnam War and she said she had a wonderful journey with him.
“If someone had found something that belonged to my husband, I would want it,” she said.
So she had made it her mission to find Granville Cox’s family and return the tags where they belong.
It had not been an easy task, but one that was well worth it.
After some research, and with the help of local attorney and historian Roy “Tuck” Hardy, Granville G. Cox’s information was found.
They learned that Granville Gordon Cox was born in 1922 and died Feb. 25, 1969, at the age of 47. He is buried in the Baltimore National Cemetery.
He was married to Delores Cox and had five children: Cynthia M., Mary Beth, Christine M., Michael J., and Gregory W. No further information has been found on the children.
Granville Cox served in the Navy from May 27, 1942-Aug. 28, 1945. His last rank was boatswain mate second class. He did his basic traIning at Norfolk, Virginia, and served aboard the USS Melville ad2, a destroyer ship, and the USS Corves aka-26, an attack cargo.
Now they that they had the information, all that was left to do was locate one of his family members. That in itself took time, so Frances contacted Patty McDonald, who had retired from the radiology department at PVH, and was known for being able to find people. McDonald took the info and made some posts on social media. She also looked for information on his children.
As the search continued, Frances held tight to the dog tags. “I really wanted to find who they belong to,” she said, vowing to continue the search until she did.
And that is exactly what she did.
Michael Cox of Flintstone, Maryland, was shocked when he got the call. “I never saw my father’s dog tags, and didn’t know they were lost,” he said.
Cox said that when his father died in 1969, his mother had passed on to them a suitcase of personal items. He was with his brother and figures that his brother must have found the tags and displayed them in the jeep that was originally owned by one of the Cox family members. “I figured he had them hanging on the rear view mirror and they must have fell,” he said.
Michael was surprised to find all that Frances went through to return the tags, and said that it’s so nice to have them in the family again. “I heard she went through a lot to find me, and it means a lot.”
Frances kept the memory of her husband with her as she searched and searched. She said thinking of him kept her searching. That search ended in a tearful meeting this week where Frances was able to hand the tags over to Michael. With her family at her side she greeted Michael with open arms and had lunch waiting on him. The joyous return happened to fall on the birthday of Frances’s husband. To her, that showed he was there with her thought the whole search.
With sharing of photos and stories, the Carr family had apparently made a friend, and a man’s legacy is now home once more.