Emma Susanna Simila was born on 11 February 1918 in Haukipudas, Finland. Her parents were Alfred Johannes Simila (Similaa) (1886-1966) and Maria Alexandra Sundvik (1887-1975); they both immigrated to the United States from Finland in 1905 and 1904 respectively, but returned to their native country a number of times. Emma Simila had two brothers and four sisters: Alfred Jr. (Oni Alfred John) (1908-1959) and Willard J. (Vilho Johannes) (1910-1975), both were born in Jersey City, N.J.; Eva Maria (1914-2000), Elsie Elleena (1922-2011), Elma (b. 1925), and Elaine Irene (1932-1934).
By 1922 the family was living in Calumet, Michigan and in 1930 they were living at 37 Delano Street, Muskegon, Michigan where Alfred Simila was employed as a laborer at a furniture factory. By 1940 they had moved to 708 Wilson Avenue, but by September 1941 they were residing at 882 Wilson Avenue where they remained.
Emma Simila graduated from high school and in 1938 was a treater at Anaconda Wire and Cable Co. located on Western Avenue in Muskegon. Sometime in the early 1940s she was employed by Kaydon Engineering Co. that had been founded in Muskegon in 1941 to supply the military with bearings for gun mounts, advancing through the company as machinist, inspector, instructor, and forewoman until her retirement. Unmarried, she continued to live with her parents until their deaths. She died on 7 November 1999.
Victor A. Belmonte, friend of and significant correspondent with Emma Simila; from the contents it appears that he was certainly was a former boyfriend and erstwhile fiancé, and may have met in school or during their similar factory occupations.
Victor was born in Castrolibros, Italy on 28 or 29 November 1919. His parents were Samuel Belmonte (1886-1957) and Ortenza Filipelli Belmonte (1891-1991). They immigrated to Michigan in 1920. Victor had two brothers and two sisters: Samuel Jr. (1909-1990), Carmella Gilda (1916-2002), Rose Ida (1921-2000), and William B. (1922-1978).
In 1940 the family lived at 663 Marquette Avenue, Muskegon, Michigan. Samuel Belmonte was employed as a railroad foreman. Having completed three years of high school, Victor was an assembly line worker for an electrical refrigerator manufacturer; by June 1941 he had left Muskegon and was living in Detroit where he was working in a machine shop.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps at Fort Custer, Michigan on 19 February 1942 and underwent training at various posts in Texas, California, and New Mexico. He was promoted from Private First Class to Sergeant by September 1942. In 1943 he was undertaking glider training. His subsequent military experience is not known, nor the date of his discharge from the service.
In September 1968 he opened the Belmonte Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge at 1245 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan. At the time of his death on 22 or 23 September 2010 he was residing in Grand Ledge, Michigan, possibly living with a daughter.