Discovery reunites a father and son

Long-lost diary, photos and other items from World War II provide Arroyo Grande’s Jim Johandes with a glimpse into the life of the biological father he barely knew

The Coeur d’ Alene PressSeptember 28, 2012 

HAYDEN, Idaho — Except for meeting him as a young boy, Jim Johandes of Arroyo Grande knew nothing about his late father. But that gap of 60 years was closed this week.

Johandes was presented World War II memorabilia last week of his biological father, Jack Van Horn, from the Pappy Boyington Field Museum. The items included Van Horn’s diary from serving on the USS Idaho battleship, a photo of him with fellow sailors, flash cards identifying Navy and enemy ships and newspaper clippings.

“When you have nothing, this is like finding the Holy Grail,” Johandes said while being presented the memorabilia. “I’m dumbfounded. This gives me something to hang onto. I had nothing.”

Johandes, who made the trip to north Idaho from Arroyo Grande with his wife, Karen, to receive the items and visit relatives in Post Falls, said his father’s ashes were spread at sea, so there’s not even a gravesite of Van Horn’s to visit.

It took a series of events for the memorabilia to end up in Johandes’ hands.

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