Family search succeeds
by Kelly Feser Eells
A "little dumb luck" and a lot of perseverance were
the perfect combination for Ojai's David Weimer last month. On
April 25, he reunited with three of his five brothers and sisters
for the first time in 45 years.
Weimer, 46, is still pinching himself. "I can't begin to
describe how great I feel," he said, though the ear-to-ear
grin he's been wearing for the last month and a half does some
of the describing for him.
The fifth of six children born to Bonnie and Ray Beck, David
and his four older siblings were already in the state foster
care system and/or living with their adoptive families when his
younger brother, Jim, was born. "He's the only one who grew
up with her (Bonnie Beck, who remarried some time after Jim's
birth in 1957, and reclaimed her youngest child from the foster
Weimer always knew he was adopted, just like "I always felt
I had an older sister."
In 1993, " After looking, really, all my life," he
found his biological parents' names through Logan County, Colo.,
courthouse records, and made further headway in 1995 by contacting
the Mormon Church and accessing its extensive genealogical archives.
He learned his father had died, and, from information pieced
together from the death certificate and the obituary, he discovered
he had an aunt living in Wisconsin.
Weimer's aunt had his biological grandfather's address and phone
number, and, through him, Weimer was put in touch with the little
brother he didn't know he had.
"I drove 1,400 miles to Julesburg, Colo., to meet him and
stayed for a week." He recalls how he recognized Jim, waiting
in a fairgrounds parking lot for their initial meeting, from
a distance. "He was standing there, like I always did, one
hand in his pocket, the other on the toothpick in his mouth."
Weimer was further amazed to discover that he and his brother
had a girl in common, too. "We realized that, for a while,
we were living about 70 miles apart. Which, in this (rural) part
of Colorado, was pretty close. Anyway, a girl I'd asked out -
who turned me down because she was dating someone else - turns
out to have been Jim's girlfriend, then, later on, his wife.
They're not married anymore, but, still. Amazing."
Shortly after or toward the end of the visit, Weimer learned
that he had, in fact, three brothers and two sisters. So he got
In 1997, he found his two older brothers, Mike and Rick, in Fairfield,
Calif. He visited one in person, spoke with the other by phone,
and learned that they had been raised together, adopted by the
same family. Still, even though "they had an identity I
didn't have," all of the brothers admit to having had some
sort of "detachment, trust, and /or commitment" issues
at some point in their lives.
Weimer's sister, Suzan, had also known she was adopted and had
been searching for the "two" older brothers (Rick and
Mike), she knew she had. When she found out she had two younger
brothers, and a sister, as well, she was so stunned that her
first words were, "Don't lie to me!"
Weimer notes that, like him, Suzan had recently taken advantage
"of the more lenient adoption laws" to expand her search.
He chuckles about "teasing her for paying way too much"
for one service, though he's invested a considerable sum over
the years himself.
Happy as the five are (one brother was unable to attend the April
reunion), "There's one sister we haven't been able to find
MSNBC got interested in the story earlier this year, after hearing
about the sibling's upcoming reunion. "They did a 'Do you
know where Debbie's at?' show, and, on May 10, they contacted
us to ask about doing an update."
In addition, "Montel Williams expressed an interest in the
story. I heard from his producers on May 12." Weimer is
hopeful that, with "all these people knowing what we're
doing," Debbie will be at the next reunion.
Debra Lynn Beck was born in April 1954, in Logan County, Colo.
That information, plus the "one picture I have, when she
was a baby," keeps Weimer from feeling "100 percent
healed," despite feeling "greater than I've ever felt."
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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IMAGE: David Weimer's long search for his family roots paid off
with a recent reunion with three of his siblings.