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Discovery of lost love letters brings parents' love story back to life

Three sisters were mourning the loss of both of their parents when an incredible discovery brought their love story back to life.

SUMTER, S.C. — Three sisters from the Midlands were mourning the loss of both of their parents when an incredible discovery brought their love story back to life. 

Ralph and Linda Boatwright died just a few months apart after 59 years of marriage. 

A man at the family’s church, New Calvary Baptist Church in Sumter, was bulldozing and old barn on the property. When he hit into the attic, he said letters started flying out everywhere.

You see, the couple’s love story was had been interrupted when Ralph was sent to Vietnam to fight. His bride Linda stayed behind in Sumter. 

The couple didn’t let the war pause their love. They diligently wrote back and forth until Ralph came home from duty. The letters were once in their parents' attic, but that house was sold to the church and the letters were lost.

Then, by chance, or maybe even a message above, in February of 2022, 937 letters brought their parents' love story back to life for Raelyn, Leslie, and Jennifer, Ralph and Linda’s daughters.

"My first thought immediately was my parents were reaching out to us trying to tell us their story," Jennifer said. 

“All of this happened before we were even born," Leslie said. "We would have never known, never gotten to see their love story without these letters. It’s like seeing where each one of us came from.”

Jennifer said her father, tall with blonde hair and blue eyes, fell deeply in love with their mom, a brunette beauty with big green eyes. “She was fun and funny, and he was the structured and serious, but her fun balanced him out.”

The daughters learned about a special moment while they were apart.

When Bob Hope traveled to overseas for a Christmas Special for the troops, Linda caught a glimpse of her love on TV.  “Darling, I prayed for this moment, to catch a glimpse of your face and there you were on my screen," Linda wrote in one letter. "I actually saw you. God is so good. Oh darling, come home to me safely.

Ralph came home to Linda, and the couple had five children.

After 59 years of marriage. Ralph was diagnosed with cancer. Linda told her daughters she couldn’t live without her sweetheart. 

"She called me and said, "Once he’s gone, I can’t do it. I can’t live without him and I can’t live in this house without him,” Jennifer said.

Indeed, Linda died peacefully in her sleep from a stroke at the end of 2019. Ralph died of cancer a few months later.

Thanks to their lost love letters, this couple and their love is still very much alive.

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