At 71, Margaret Ann Wolf Harris heard her father’s voice for the first time in her adult life.
Her dad, Sgt. Cody Wolf, died in World War II when his plane was shot down over Germany on Jan. 11, 1944. But a couple of weeks before his death, he contributed to a Christmas broadcast, produced by war correspondents of the Maryland newspaper The Baltimore Sun.
Wolf recorded a message in which he mentioned his baby girl, Margaret Ann. Harris, who was 17 months old when her father was killed, heard the recording for the first time 70 years later on NPR member station WYPR.
Wolf told the interviewer he’d been thinking a lot about Catonsville, home to his parents, wife and “my 16-month-old daughter, Margaret Ann.”
“It was so wonderful,” Harris tells NPR’s Arun Rath. “And it was not a sad thing at all. It was just a wonderful experience to know that I could hear that voice and that my father said my name. That was the most poignant part.”
When she heard the broadcast, Harris contacted Sullivan and McCardell at The Sun via email. She wrote:
“I am the daughter of Sgt. Cody Wolf. Today I heard my father’s voice for the very first time. You have sent me a very treasured Christmas present. There are no words to explain how I felt when I heard my father speak about me. I was only 17 months old when he was killed.
“I am 71 years old and today I was his ‘Margaret Ann.’ ”
Before hearing the recording, she says, she’d never really imagined what his voice sounded like.
“And when I heard his voice, it was very typical of his family,” Harris says. “It was very of the time — very calm and very reassuring voice. Kind of like the Jimmy Stewart/Gary Cooper era.”
Margaret Ann Wolf Harris, 2 months old, with her father Cody Wolf before he reported to duty.