|By Al Owens
The voice on the phone asked,
"Are you Donna Osborne?"
Donna replied, "Yes, I am."
The caller continued, "Are you the Donna Osborne that ran the ad in the Louisa
Again Donna answered, "Yes, I am."
The unfamiliar voice said, "I think we're your aunt and uncle."
So ended the 64-year search of Imogene King Werline's family to find her brother, Bill
Imogene and her five siblings were orphaned when their mother died of cancer. At the
time, Billy was only three-weeks-old and Imogene was four-years-old.
Imogene had a twin sister named Emogene, who had lived in Williamson, West Virginia and
passed away about five years ago.
Imogene and her family had tried every avenue they could come up with to find one of
the brothers or sisters, especially baby brother Billy. They tried search services, the
Internet, and even some TV talk shows that specialize in family reunions of this sort.
Nothing was successful.
Finally, daughter Donna Osborne learned that Louisa had a newspaper. She wrote a letter
to the editor that was run on January 28. One of Bill's cousins saw the letter and called
him and wife, Deaun. With the phone number provided from the letter to the editor, Aunt
Dee made the call on February 1.
At their mother's death, Billy was taken to Mechanicsburg, Ohio, and reared there by an
aunt. The other children were placed in an orphanage in Louisa. Bill said he did not look
for his family because he thought they might be jealous of him because a relative took him
inn and they were put in a home. He discovered exactly the opposite.
Bill called and told Imogene that he would be in the next weekend. He called back
and said, "I'm coming tomorrow."
Bill and Deaun have three children; Imogene and Kenneth Werline have five. All were
contacted and on Groundhog Day 2002, the Werlines and the Kings had a heart-warming
reunion at the Werline home in Rectorville. On March 9, the Kings were again at the
Al Owens/Lewis County Herald
Siblings Bill King and Imogene Werline were reunited
recently after being separated for 64 years. The two were orphaned after their mother
died. Mrs. Werline is continuing the search for other siblings.
Bill's grown son, Jason, 33, who has two boys of his own, walked over to his newly
found Aunt Imogene and, grinning from ear to ear, gave her a big and genuinely
affectionate hug. He said that he had first and second cousins and all of his life had
called them his aunts and uncles. With tears of emotion he said, "Now I have a real
aunt and uncle."
Imogene said that the feelings experienced when she first met her brother were
"I had given up," she offered. "I never though I would see him."
At the time of this interview, the reunited had known each other for only four weeks.
Aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, and cousins were getting acquainted. They all said
that the love and bonding were instant. They felt like they had known each other for
The next step for Imogene and Bill is to find older brother Jimmy King if he's still
living. They have two other sisters but don't even know their names or where they were
placed from the orphanage. However, they plan to check the records from the home and see
if they can find out about their adoptions and at least get their names. The search will
After 64 years of separation, at least some of the Leonard and Easter Miller King
children from Louisa are reunited. The love was automatic, and amidst tears of joy and
celebration the search goes on for Jimmy and two other sisters.