Raphael “Ray” and Lois (Judisch) Frost

Cass County

Remembering a Fallen Son

In 1927, when Ray Frost was five, he came from Iowa to Hunter—his mother’s hometown—in a boxcar. The family went to farming. Ray had one sister and eight brothers, all of whom served in the military. The Frost brothers in service were Laverne, Leroy, Marvin, Donald, Bernard, Kenneth, William, and Robert. Ray had a farm deferment, but he says, “I’d have went if I had to. I didn’t try to get out of it.” While all his brothers were in service, his mother had a unique system for keeping her sons informed, according to Ray’s wife, Lois. “She wrote one [letter] and then tried to [use carbon paper]. One boy said, ‘By the time I got mine, it’s pretty blurred.’”

Lois Judisch was born in 1926, and grew up near Erie. She and Ray met at a dance in Page. They were married in 1945. They had three children. John, the oldest, was born in Fargo in March 1948, but because the road to the Frost farmstead was blocked they weren’t able to bring him home for 16 weeks. Ray says, “The county didn’t have the equipment that they got now.” Lois adds, “We brought him home from the hospital in a sled.”

Their second son, Rapheal John, called John, was killed in combat while with the Americal Division in Vietnam on December 20, 1968. “About two
in the morning,” Ray says, “the doorbell rang, and I come out. These two soldiers are standing there [to give the death notification].”

“It was a bad winter,” Lois says. “[The military] insisted that there be a burial.” Ray remembers, “It was 30-something below. They had to dig that hole by hand. We had the funeral and the American Legion was involved. They had quite a few members. They gave his medals one night at Hunter. And the soldier who was there said he had never seen anything like it before, that many people would come to it.”

“Oh, everyone was great,” Lois states, “I wrote [to John] every day [while in Vietnam].” A mom’s endearing letters was so important. Lois Frost, Gold Star mother of John Frost, who was killed in combat in Vietnam, I salute you.

Interview: November 8, 2016