My Dear Mr. McGee: I have just learned from the Captain on the J. S. that you have had a set back. I sincerely hope it is nothing serious. So often I have thought of you and wondered how you are getting along. You remember, I am one of the officers who was with you the night of your accident. It would please me very much to hear from you because your acquaintance is one of the many I have made since I have been on this job that I have really enjoyed. I want to express my sympathy and extend my best wishes, and certainly hope you have a rapid recovery.
Sincerely yours, Donald Zirkelbach
Paducah, Ky June 6, 1938 Mr. D.H.Zirkelbach Evansville, Ind.
Dear Mr. Zirkelbach-
This is Mrs. McGee writing, wife of Capt. McGee. Your letter came this morning and of course I read it. I was surprised at Capt. Verne Streckfus telling you that my husband had a set back for he knew Connie had passed away April 26th at the U. S. Marine Hospital at St. Louis. I can surmize what his reason was for telling you what he did. Connie and I oftened talked about you and the other officer that was on the St. Paul the night of the accident. We still have the letter you men signed. I am keeping it with other letters pertaining to the accident. We didn't bring suit. I just wouldn't let him do it. The following summer after the accident, Capt. Joe Streckfus talked to Connie and we thought would not sue, so they gave him $1,000.00 and he would always be taken care of the rest of his life. Mr. McGee had never been the same since he lost his leg-the wearing of the artificial leg was hard for him. It had hip control. He couldn't use the shoulder control for it caused a paralysis of the left shoulder, so the hip style he wore. He had to put in long hours last summer in St. Louis-from 5 P.M. to 6 A.M. and the wearing of the limb caused an irritation in his stomach-that is what we think started this last illness. Last December, he began to complain of a pain in his stomach, like indigestion. We consulted two doctors, one x-rayed him, but neither doctor could say what was wrong. So finally, Feb. 4th, he left for the U. S. Marine Hospital at St. Louis. The doctors there x-rayed him-took 19 pictures, finally had their suspicion what was wrong. So March 24th, they operated on him and couldn't do a thing for him. Found cancer of the large bowel and the liver partly involved. He gradually grew worse and finally passed away April 26th. He suffered intense pain for weeks, was given morphine to ease it some. Marjorie, our daughter and myself was with him the greatest part of the time. The Streckfus people came to see him and Capt. Verne was always sent word his condition. Connie hated to leave us and it just broke our hearts to see him suffer & then had to leave us after all those weeks in hospital. Connie told me a year ago, as I didn't sign any papers, I could sue if they would not do something for me after his death. He really wanted me to do it. But I am not a person who can do such things easily. I would worry & as I have passed through so much, I would rather not. As we are not financially well fixed. The Streckfuses could easily do a little something for us, but so far it looks like they are not going too. Capt. Verne Streckfus must have had a reason for saying what he told you. He probably didn't think you would hear of his death. I hope you will be able to understand what I have written. I know Connie would have appreciated your letter had he been here. I am enclosing two clippings-one from Paducah Newspaper & the other from St. Louis Globe Democrat. The Associated Press & United Press carried the news of his death. His sister died the day after he died and a double funeral was held. On March 14th, his only brother John died.
Yours Very Truly Mrs. McGee
Capt. Lax has a cancer in his mouth & I hear won't get well. He is in St. Louis.
June 11, 1938
Dear Mrs. McGee:
I was certainly taken by surprise when I read your letter and learning of Captain McGee's death and to think it happened so long ago. It makes me feel so sorry and I certainly want to express my sympathy for you and your daughter although I'm not acquainted with you. I'm returning the letter you asked me to. You didn't say whether you wanted the clippings. Shall I return those? I would like very much to have them, but will be glad to have them back to you immediately if you say so. I keep a scrap book with all of my interesting and unusual experiences in it and I have the clippings about the accident also. As I stated before You have my deepest sympathy and my best wishes. I'm very glad to have known Captain McGee and will always remember him as a kind friend.