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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Gere Masters’ father worked in circulation for the Springfield newspaper for 40 years.

Over the course of his lifetime, Ray Wageman collected piles of newspaper clippings.

“He just didn’t throw anything away,” Masters said.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that before Wageman passed away in 2014, he suffered from dementia. Sometimes he couldn’t even remember what he ate for breakfast, Masters said.

In those stacks of old newspaper articles, Masters found stories that brought light back into her father’s eyes.

He loved to talk about adventures from his youth and young adulthood, Masters said. Those details he could recall with ease.

Many of the newspaper clippings he kept were from World War II, a defining event for people of his generation, Masters said.

One article was about a young soldier who was killed in combat. He was someone her father used to know.

“I was trying to pick the things that would stimulate memories,” she said.

Reading the old stories helped Masters feel closer to events that transpired during her father’s life.

“You get things in a timeline,” she said. “You make sense of what happened.”

Masters has also been working on tracing her family’s genealogy. Initially, some of her older relatives thought the research was “ridiculous,” she said. But when she started finding photos, they became interested.

“This is the language our elderly people speak,” she said. “They love to talk about the past. It brings them to life. It brings them joy.”


Information from: Springfield News-Leader,