Long-lost sisters are reunited in senior home
Published: October 29, 2007 | 6782nd good news item since 2003
Dorothy Caudle lived only 300 feet from her sister, but the two had not seen each other in 38 years and had no idea they were staying at the same senior living community in Tempe.
The women were reunited this month after a chain of events that staff members and relatives call miraculous.
“We didn’t even recognize each other the first day,” Caudle said.
Things started to fall into place on Oct. 7, when television news crews showed up at Westchester Campus of Care in Tempe to cover the 100th birthday of Gladys Clark, a resident at the faith-based facility.
During the centennial celebration, a cousin informed Clark’s 67-year-old son, Cloyce, that his mother’s younger sister was also living at the facility. Cloyce investigated and discovered that his 83-year-old aunt had lived about 300 feet away for nearly a year.
With the help of relatives and Westchester staff member Bonnie Peterson, the sisters were reunited about one week later on Oct. 15.
Peterson called the reunion a “miracle,” and Clark agreed.
“Whatever the Lord has for me, that’s what I’ll do,” Clark said.
Clark has lived at the Westchester apartments for about 10 years.
Her younger sister moved to the facility last November.
Caudle used her middle name, Juanita, while growing up but went by Dorothy in later years.
The sisters are originally from Texas. Clark has lived in Arizona since 1927, and Caudle moved to the state in 1958.
Caudle said she moved to Tempe to be near a daughter. Though she was aware that Clark lived in the state, she said she had no idea they were living in the same facility.
The sisters did not elaborate on how they became estranged more than 38 years ago. They came from a family with 11 children, Caudle the youngest.
Peterson said the size of the family might have been a factor.
“Large families can lose track of each other,” Peterson said. Another factor might have been the sisters’ age difference.
Clark left Texas shortly after Caudle was born to marry and settle in Arizona.
Without things such as e-mail to keep in touch, the sisters said their busy lives kept them from contacting each other.
After their initial reunion, the sisters have met three more times. They say they have a lot of catching up to do — mostly talking about family and their numerous nieces and nephews.
“There’s no telling how many,” Caudle said with a laugh.