Lost WWII photo found at Lee’s Summit estate sale returned to veteran’s family

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A lost piece of World War II memorabilia, featured in a FOX4 report last week, is back with its rightful owners.

Connie Davis had been searching for the family of Donald Franklin Miller for a month after her brother-in-law found a framed picture with Miller's name on it at an estate sale in Lee’s Summit.

“I lived and breathe this pretty much trying to find out who this man was or his family," Davis told FOX4’s Zac Summers last Wednesday.

Tips poured in following our FOX4 report about Davis’ search to reconnect the family with the picture. One of the messages led FOX4’s Zac Summers to a distant relative of Miller’s in Alabama, who was able to connect him with Miller’s nephew, Richard Miller, who lives in Johnson County.

“I can’t tell you how excited some of the cousins and my sisters and brothers are about this picture being back in our family,” Miller said.

Richard Miller and Connie Davis

Miller said his aunt, the wife of Donald Miller, died a few months ago, which is why the picture almost ended up in the trash; she had been living at a nursing home.

“Uncle Don passed away in 1983, so he’s been gone for about 35 years, and he didn’t have any children,” Miller said.

His uncle was born and raised in Smithville, Missouri. At 18, he was drafted during World War II and served as a Moto Machinists Mate on the Tank Landing Ship, LST 617, featured in the framed photo.

“I remember many times as a kid looking at this picture,” Miller said. “My Uncle Don was always fun to be around.”

Richard and his family are grateful that Connie cared so much to return a piece he thought he would never see again.

“I can’t thank Connie enough,” Miller said.

Richard Miller

Davis said she’s just happy she can now put a face to a picture, adding that she will forever be connected to the WWII veteran who captured her heart, even if only for a short time.

“I feel like I touched somebody’s heart and it touched my heart,” Davis said.

Miller and Davis plan to stay in touch. Miller said he will hang the picture inside his home with the intent of passing it down to future generations.