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Mark Wetzel, KSL TV

Mystery woman from bus crash memorial found

By Alex Cabrero | Posted - Dec. 12, 2013 at 10:08 p.m.


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GLENDALE — The mystery woman who gave Joyce Holder a 75-year-old homework assignment with her sister's name on it has been found.

South Jordan unveiled a memorial on December 2 for the victims of a bus crash in South Jordan in 1938.

Joyce Holder's sister, Virginia, was one of the victims of the crash. During the ceremony, Holder was given a piece of paper that had her sister's name on it. But she never got the woman's name who gave it to her.

The mystery has been solved.

Caroleen Chamberlain has papers and items that her family has kept for 75 years and three generations in remembrance of her uncle, Carol Stephensen, who also died in the bus crash.

Chamberlain said there was "no doubt" that she was going to the memorial last week.

She drove nearly 300 miles from her home in Glendale to go to the ceremony with a piece of paper from that crash that she knew belonged to someone else.

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"I knew that if I went to this ceremony, I knew that somebody there would know who this was," Chamberlain said.

The piece of paper that Chamberlain had acquired looked like a homework assignment, and written on the top in pencil was the name Virginia Nelson.

"After all those years, it was still there. It said Virginia Nelson, just as plain as anything," Chamberlain said.

During the ceremony, when Virginia Nelson's name was read, Chamberlain noted who stood up. It was Joyce Holder, Nelson's sister.

Afterwards, Chamberlain gave the paper to Holder.

"And as we handed it to each other, our hands just touched, and we just spanned all those years. It was amazing," Chamberlain said.


And as we handed it to each other, our hands just touched, and we just spanned all those years. It was amazing.

–Caroleen Chamberlain, "mystery woman"


But that was all that passed between them.

"She turned and walked away. I have no idea who she was," Holder said.

But Holder wanted to find the mystery woman because she wanted to thank her for her act of kindness.

"Oh, it just brings tears to my eyes. It's amazing," Holder said.

After KSL aired the original story, Chamberlain got in touch with the station.

"My grandparents had memorabilia from that time, and apparently somebody picked that up and put it in (Stephensen's) things," Chamberlain said. "And so my mother didn't feel like she could throw it away, and I remember her showing it to me with those things."

Now Chamberlain said she has another memory that is priceless.

"It was amazing. It was just amazing. There was no words. We just stood there and hugged each other and cried. It was just amazing."

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Alex Cabrero

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