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Marin County Man Reunited With Long-Lost Brother After 70 Years Apart

by Carlos E. Castañeda
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(L-R) John Holland, Frank Holland talk about being reunited following a 70-year separation. (Logan Foll/Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(L-R) John Holland, Frank Holland talk about being reunited following a 70-year separation. (Logan Foll/Chattanooga Times Free Press)

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (CBS SF) — Two brothers who had not seen each other in 70 years were reunited after a North Bay man’s hospital visit prompted a nurse to help him find his long-lost sibling in Tennessee.

83-year-old Frank Holland went to Kaiser Permanente in San Rafael earlier this spring for to have some cancerous cells removed from his nose, USA Today reported.

After telling a nurse that he lived alone since his wife’s death in 2006 and had no family aside from his long-lost brother John, the nurse connected Holland to a lab assistant at Kaiser who once had been a private investigator, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

The lab assistant, Gabrielle Albrecht, came up with a list of John Hollands based on what details Frank Holland could remember and began calling each, the Times Free Press said.

Eventually, she found a match after calling a John Holland III in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  From the USA Today story:

“I’m Gabi,” she remembers saying. “I’m calling from California. Frank is looking for his brother.”

John III, John Holland’s son, grilled her to make sure she wasn’t a thief. “Where was my father born? My uncle? What was the name of the orphanage they both lived in when they were young? Who took Frank from the orphanage?”

When Albrecht got the answers right, he said he was stunned.

“Oh my God, you found my long-lost uncle Frank,” she remembers him answering.

When Frank and John spoke minutes later on the phone, both men wept as they came to the realization that they had finally found each other.

Both brothers lived together in an Ohio orphanage in their early teens, until a relative came to take Frank away while John stayed behind, according to published reports. It was the last time they would see each other until late last month, when Frank made the trip to Chattanooga and a tearful reunion with his brother, who he always called ‘Junior.’

“I cried,” Frank told the Times Free Press while shooting a glance at his brother. “I cry at anything anyway. He had tears in his eyes too; I’m not going to let him get away with calling me a baby.”

Following Frank Holland’s initial visit to Tennessee, where he met his brother’s wife, children, and extended family, his newly-found family plans a trip to Marin County to visit a rejuvenated Frank.

“I now have a family. A whole family,” Frank told WBIR-TV in Chattanooga. “Not just my brother. I got all of his children. I didn’t have any with my wife.”

 

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