2004-02-20 / Front Page

70 Years Later, Reunited With Family

By Howard Schwach
70 Years Later, Reunited With Family By Howard Schwach


Pictured at the Irish Circle Party, the brothers and sisters. From left, they are Judy Kollmer, Sandra Hamilton, Dale Larson (sitting), Janet O'Hare, John Hillman, Barbara Lou Kirk and Helen Magill.Pictured at the Irish Circle Party, the brothers and sisters. From left, they are Judy Kollmer, Sandra Hamilton, Dale Larson (sitting), Janet O'Hare, John Hillman, Barbara Lou Kirk and Helen Magill.

When Dale Larson was born on December 30, 1934, it was out of wedlock. At that time, that was something of a scandal in a place such as Hibbing, Minnesota, and his mother placed him for adoption.

His mother remarried several years later and moved east.

She always told her daugh ter, Janet O'Hare of Broad Channel, however, that there was another brother outside of the eight children that were at home.

Janet knew his name. When her mother passed away, she found the order to give up the male child for adoption with his birth date scrawled by hand on the outside of the legal papers.

After her mother's death, Janet contacted the authorities in Minnesota, who re fused to help her on the grounds that the adoption papers were sealed.

Janet did not give up, however.

One day she went on to the website Ancestry.com and left a message on one of the site's message boards.

"Looking for Dale Har wood Zagts, born December 30, 1934 and placed for adoption by his mother," the message read.

Cut to Minnesota during the early 1950's. Dale Larson wanted to join the Navy. He applied for a birth certificate, but was turned down because his birth records were sealed.

Larson went to then-Senator Hubert Humphrey for help. Humphrey got him his birth certificate.

On it was the name of his birth mother, but not his father.

He spent a number of years in the Navy and then in the Merchant Marine.

Now a real estate broker in Millville, California, Larson was spending some time on his computer a few months ago and he idly typed into the Google web browser his name and his birth mother's name.

Up popped Janet O'Hare's message.

He ran in to tell his wife and began to do a jig.

He emailed O'Hare, who returned his email.

Telephone calls followed.

"I was so happy, I was screaming that I found Dale," O'Hare recalls.

Last Wednesday night, Larson flew into JFK for a family reunion at the Irish Circle, a party that lasted into the wee hours of the night.

"I can't believe that I finally found him," O'Hare said at the party. "This is the best thing that ever happened."


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