January 6, 2016 8:57 am
Updated: January 6, 2016 9:36 pm

Is your name Gary? Ad seeks birth father

WATCH ABOVE: It’s an emotional journey that’s made much harder when there’s very little information, but some are taking to social media to try and connect with long-lost relatives. Here’s Tracy Nagai with one families journey.


CALGARY – A classified ad is seeking to connect a daughter with a father who doesn’t know she exists.

“Is your name Gary?” the ad begins. “Were you in Regina, SK on business in 1969?”

The ad is accompanied by a decades-old photo of a smiling, petite blond woman and an even blonder little girl with poker-straight hair.

Toni Rempel took out the ad on behalf of her half-sister Bonnie.

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“My mom, in the summer of 1969, met a guy named Gary, but she’s not sure of his last name. She thinks maybe he was Polish or Ukrainian,” Rempel, 39, told The Canadian Press from her home in Kelowna, B.C.

“It was the summer of ’69 and there was all of that free love. My mom ended up becoming pregnant with my sister and she never told Gary about her.”

Rempel said her 45-year-old sister, Bonnie Eklund, is working as a doctor in San Diego, Calif., and has been hoping to learn more about her father for the last 20 years.

“She’s told me over the years that she feels there’s a part of her missing and she wishes she knew, but she doesn’t really have the courage herself to go searching. I asked her if it was OK if I did,” said Rempel.

“We’re trying to figure out who he is and trying to establish a possible connection for Bonnie to meet her father.”

Their mother, Vernette Ann Eklund, was working at the Regina General Hospital and met Gary at a nightclub at the Westward Inn in Regina. The two embarked on a “brief affair.”

Rempel said Gary, who lived in Calgary at the time, would fly into Regina on business and is believed to have been a pharmaceutical representative. He would have been in his 20s, had blond hair, a slender build and was about six feet tall.

Rempel said her mother, who is now 69, gave up Bonnie for adoption when the girl was two and she was raised by her grandparents.

“My mom worked as a nurse, which entailed 12-hour shifts, and back in 1969 there was no such thing as 12-hour daycare, plus she was single.

“Bonnie was raised as my aunt. When I was 12 years old my mother actually told me she was my sister. I was so happy because it was like all my dreams had come true, because I always felt she was more than my aunt.”

Rempel is asking anyone who might know Gary to contact her so she can give her sister a happy ending.

She can be reached at t.rempel@yahoo.ca.

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