Photo that went to war in '43 returns to Ruby

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photoRuby Hazen of Silver Lake holds her portrait, filched 70 years ago by a young Coast Guard member.

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LONGVIEW — Seventy years later, the pretty red-haired girl has her portrait back.

Jim Williams of Springfield, Ill., says he went dancing with the young woman who was then Ruby Ruff in 1943 in Portland. They were both 22; he was in the Coast Guard. She invited him to her house for lemonade and he stole a photo of her that he saw there.

Williams says he intended to return it but was sent to the World War II war zone in the South Pacific. He kept the photo pristine all these years.

During a recent vacation to the West Coast, he told his story to The Oregonian and was able to get in touch with Ruby Hazen, now of Silver Lake, near Toutle. Both are now 92.

Williams mailed back the photo, along with a dozen roses, and the two friends chatted by Skype.

Ruby Hazen says she accepts his apology and tells The Daily News of Longview, "he's really a very nice man."