Honoring My Ancestors - My Uncle Tommy


My mother passed away in February and I've been cleaning out her house.

I have found so many old photos and family history while going through things. I've been posting old family photos on Insta and many have commented and are really enjoying the old photos. And to be honest sharing details about those I have lost is helping with my grief.

So I have decided to create blog posts with more details. You might be asking - What do old family photos have to do with Halloween?

Well, Halloween, Samhain, was originally a time to honor the dead. A time to share our plane of existence with them once again. 

For Samhain, Day of the Dead, and many other death holidays around the world there are customs and rituals that honor the ancestors. 

Now I'm going to have a feature that honors mine.

I'll start with the one that has some historical significance.


The man on the right in this top photo (no hat) is my Uncle Tommy Rhoads. He was my dad's little brother. I never met him. His plane went down and disappeared 26 years before I was born.



On Jan 26, 1950, his plane disappeared and has never been found. Tommy was only 21 years old.

The Douglas C-54 Skymaster disappeared on its way from Alaska to Montana. It's a mystery, no trace of this plane has ever been found. 

Countless missions have gone out in search of any remnants of the plane, but it seems as though this plane disappeared without a trace.


An organization called Operation Mike was founded to increase awareness and launch new search efforts so at some point families could have closure. 

A documentary film has been created and will soon be released called Skymaster Down.

Here's a strange little sidebar to this story- my great aunt Hattie was psychic. She swore that Tommy lived through that plane's disappearance. That she heard him telling her he was scared when the plane went down. And later when he was being held captive...in Russia.

The plane left Alaska and was last heard of over the Yukon territory. Could it have somehow got turned around and ended up in Russia? 

Stranger things have happened. It could be why they have never found a single trace of that plane. Could the people on that plane had been turned into Russian spies? 

Sounds like a great plot for a novel. 

Sounds better than the theory the History Channel offered when the TV show Missing in Alaska researched the plane's disappearance and concluded it was due to aliens or a "space-time vortex".

30 years after Tommy's plane went down my father died in 1980. 

At my father's funeral, there were flowers from Tommy Rhoads. There were no other Tommys in our family, no one knew who this "Tommy" could be.

Could the flowers have been from my uncle? If so, why didn't he ever come home? 

Another random factoid- my RoxanneRhoads.com website gets heavy viewing traffic from Russia. 

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