‘The Greatest Mother’s Day Gift I Could Have Ever Received’

50 Years Later, Father and Daughter To Unite

Ursula V. Battle | 5/10/2019, 6 a.m.
This is Part 1 of a Two-Part Series on the making of a Surprise 50-year reunion between Arthur Shepard and ...
Brenda Sawyer who turns 50 in July, is looking forward to meeting her father for the first time. Arthur Shepard, 66, is looking forward to seeing his daughter again.

According to Sawyer who was raised by her grandparents, the first clue she received as to who her father was, came from a relative.

“My relative told me his name was Tony,” she recalled. “I named my son who is now 20 after him. I knew Tony could be many things, so I named my son after what I thought my father’s name was - Anthony.”

She added, “I kept that name Tony with me all my life. Sweet 16, then 18, and 25, and now I am almost 50. My fiancé gave me AncestryDNA for Christmas. Through the test, I was able to connect with family members, and eventually my father. Some say it was AncestryDNA, and others will credit it to Facebook, but I know it was God. This is the greatest’s Mother’s Day gift I could have ever received.”

Sawyer said her son, who is a sophomore at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, plans to travel to Maryland with her to meet his grandfather for the first time.

“All of my siblings and other relatives have reached out to me,” said Sawyer. “They have really poured out. We talk on the phone for hours. They are so loving to me.”

One of those siblings is Toni Saunders.

“When my father told us about the call that he received from his daughter, my initial thought was ‘What in the tarnation is going on?’”, said Saunders with a laugh. “As he went further into how she found him, I said ‘Look at God.’”

She added, “As we approach this Mother's Day weekend, let us not forget that, yes we are uplifting the mothers who birthed, cared for and nurtured us...but within this miraculous story we are celebrating those who don’t give up.”

Coming in next week’s edition: The Reunion. Also be sure to log-in to baltimoretimes-online.com/ to see video and photos captured from the long-awaited reunion of the father and daughter.