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About Tressa R. Cates

About the author: Tressa Roka Cates (September 14, 1903 — May 6, 1991) born in Hungary, died in San Diego County, CA, U.S.A., married to Lowell C. Cates (1912 — 1995). Registered Nurse; served in the Sternberg Hospital in Manila prewar.

A Los Angeles Times feature from February 14, 1986, relates that,

For Tressa and Lowell Cates, imprisonment postponed their wedding. On Jan. 5, 1942, the day they planned to marry, the Japanese took them into custody. They survived more than three years of internment and they were married in June, 1945.

“Lowell said to me: ‘Don’t worry, honey, the Americans will be here in six weeks and we can go ahead and get married.’ But they didn’t come for a long, long time,” Tressa Cates said.

For Tressa, a nurse at Sternberg General Military Hospital in the Philippines when she was captured, life at Santo Tomas was a bit easier than for her future husband. She was able to work at the hospital, but Lowell contracted tuberculosis and was bedridden for eight months.

The Cateses, who now live in San Marcos in San Diego County, stayed another three years in Manila after their repatriation while Lowell worked for a pharmaceutical company.

“But it was never the same again. There had been too much destruction,” he said.

A 1972 letter from Tressa R. Cates to fellow detainee Francis Xavier Cassera can be found online.

About the diary: Published as The Drainpipe Diary,  Vantage Press, New York, 1957 and reprinted as Infamous Santo Tomas: Authentic W.W.II. Civilian Prisoner of War Camp Story, Pacific Press, San Marcos, California, 1981.