Finding My Dad-Woodrow Guthrie

Here is a little background about my early life. My parents divorced before I was 2 and from what I have been told,  it was a nasty split. My mom remarried when I was about 10. My step-father not only filled the shoes of the missing father in my life but became my dad and still is to this day! He’s a wonderful man who I love with all my heart!

However, this is the story of my biological father. Needless to say, I didn’t know much about him except for what my birth certificate showed and that wasn’t much. Like where was he now! When I was a teen, I had my first phone conversation with him and received a photo shortly after that. That was the only contact I had with him until I was about 35 or 36 years old. Needless to say, my mom had really hard feelings about things and just did not want to talk about him. She felt he didn’t deserve to know me! I kept pestering for answers, for names, anything and she finally mentioned a brother’s name. I called a dozen or so Raymond Guthrie’s in Texas and finally found someone who knew who knew the Raymond Guthrie family. However, I was informed  that Raymond had passed away a couple of months earlier. I was devastated! I told my story to the fellow on the phone about trying to find my dad, Woody Guthrie, Raymond’s brother and asked him to please pass my name and phone number on to the family. I thought so close and now so far away, again. Would I ever connect with my dad? It wasn’t a long time before I got a phone call and it was my dad, Woody!  I was so happy that we finally connected.

Woody and I spoke often on the phone over the next couple of years. In 1986, I moved cross county and stopped in Abilene for a visit.  I spent 3 or 4 days visiting with him, his wife Chris, and my half-sister, Gaile and her family and dad’s sister, Billie.  It was a great visit and I learned so much in that short time. I got to visit again about 1989 or 1990 for another 3 or 4 days. Those are the only visits I had with my dad because he died July 23, 1993.

My dad gave me so much information about his family history before he died. Since his death, his wife has sent me boxes upon boxes of photos, military medals, newspaper clippings from his service days and many other things. All these memento’s mean so much to me and have helped fill in so many gaps.

The not knowing where I came from and who he was, who was his family and how everything connected has finally come full circle. I finally feel that I know who I am and what I was meant to do in this life.

Over the years the genealogy research has helped answer many questions and fill in many of the blanks. I am so thankful for the short time we had together, but the research has filled in a lifetime of many happy memories!

Oct. 2, 2010

Just wanted to clarify something-my dad was not the famous singer Woody Guthrie,  nor is there any family connection to his lineage. The singer, Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie was born July 14, 1912 in Okemah, Oklahoma. My dad was Woodrow C. “Woody” Guthrie was  born July 18, 1918 in Texas.

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