Back to JMIFC Page JMFC's Tribute Memorial
A Special Message from the Presidents of the
Jeanette MacDonald International Fan Club
Clara Rhoades and Tessa Williams
Photo Gift Ian B.
We received at the JMIFC this very touching letter from Ronald Reagan upon the passing of our Golden Diva in 1965.
Ronald W. Reagan was so gracious in sending his sincere regards to Gene and all of Jeanette's millions of fans around the world with his heartfelt thought. We, at the JMIFC, have cherished it among one of our favorites. He related a moment in time that affected not only his life, but the lives of 20,000 of our young fighting boys who were about to go overseas during World War II, and he turned to the one person he knew who would be able to give great meaning to this special event they were having, and that was our Jeanette.
It is now 39 years later that we find ourselves in a moment of time which our nation is mourning the passing of another great American, the 40th President of the United States of America, Ronald Wilson Reagan. Upon behalf of the JMIFC, Tessa and I are proud to send our condolences to Mrs. Reagan and family, and in using the President's own words ... we all miss you Mr. President very much and we all know how we, and the entire world, are so much better off for having you as the leader of our nation.
Clara Rhoades and Tessa Williams
March 30, 1965
Miss Clara Rhoades
1185 Woodward Avenue
Dear Miss Rhoades,
I thank you and your associates for giving me the chance to participate in this tribute. At the same time I confess I find it difficult to express myself. May I just tell you one of my memories of Jeanette?
It was early in World War II. Our men were still fighting on Bataan. I was a lieutenant at Fort Mason in San Francisco. There was no USO, nor any program for entertainment in those early days. The commanding general had asked if I could get someone to sing the National Anthem at ceremonies for I Am American Day. Jeanette said yes without hesitation. but then said if she was coming all that way, couldn't she do something more to help. So on a Sunday afternoon she stood in one of the boxes at the old Dog Racing Track while 20,000 boys headed for the South Pacific, sat in the infield. She sang until there weren't any more songs left and still they wanted more. Finally she told them she only knew one more song that was a great favorite of hers, and she started singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic. I will never forget her, nor forget how she sang, these 20,000 boys came to their feet and finished singing the hymn with her.
We all miss her very much and I think all of us are better for having known her.
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