Lyman Stucky

Father And Son Reunited After Nearly 60 Years

Eighty-five-year-old Marvin Shimel was finally reunited with his son after 60 years apart. The son was told Shimel died during the Vietnam War.

By Christine Slusser | November 29, 2013

​​A father and son were able to sit down and celebrate Thanksgiving together after they spent nearly 60 years apart.

The Des Moines Register reports the father, 85-year-old Marvin Shimel, spent much of his life searching for his son. Sixty-one-year-old Gary Anderson didn't know he was still alive.

"I asked my mother about him, and she informed me he died in Vietnam." 

Shimel made eight attempts to find his son, and WWBT says the last one was after his wife of 52 years passed away in 2012. 

"But 85-year-old Marvin Shimel survived the conflict, but became estranged following a divorce from Anderson's mom, whose name had changed due to her multiple future marriages, making it nearly impossible to find Anderson." 

Anderson told The Des Moines Register the last thing he remembers of his father is from around the time of his fifth birthday. There's a picture of him on his bicycle, and Shimel carried it with him for 56 years. 

Shimel reached out to the Davenport police chief, who was moved to help him after hearing his story. Anderson was finally found, and the two reunited in California in August.

"After that many years, what do you say? What do you do? So we walked up and gave each other a hug."

Shimel did keep himself busy by publishing a book called "Memoirs of a Military Movie Man." It's about his life in the military and the trips he made around the world — including Vietnam.

As for Anderson, he joked they're both too old to throw the football around now, but it definitely looks like they made the most of their holiday together. 

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