81-Year-Old Father Tony Trapani Uses Facebook To Find 61-Year-Old Son He Never Knew Existed

How does it feel when you have been childless all your life and one fine day you discover that you have a 61-year-old son? Ask 81-year-old Tony Trapani of Grand Rapids, Michigan! Tony and his late wife, Gertrude Trapani, were married for 50 years until her death in 2008. The couple, however, never had any children, due to a medical condition. This was probably the only regret Tony had in his life. Imagine his surprise, then, after a letter that was written nearly six decades ago, (56 years to be precise) revealed to him that he indeed was father to a son!

According to Tony Trapani, it was back in February 2014, nearly a year ago that he came across the letter that he found in his wife’s cabinet. According to Mlive, Tony was simply cleaning it when the five decade old hand-written letter caught his eye. Tony now believes that his wife hid the letter from him because she herself was unable to have children. The letter dated March 1959 was from a woman named Shirley Childress, a lady whom Tony had previously dated. Inside the letter was the mega surprise that was in store for Tony. It read as follows.

“Dear Tony, I bet you are surprised to hear from me after so many years. I was just thinking about you tonight like so many other nights. But I thought I would write you and find out how you are. Tony, please don’t be angry or surprised to hear this. I have a little boy. He is five-years- old now – grey eyes and beautiful black hair. What I am trying to say Tony is he is your son. [sic]”

The letter goes on.

“Please Tony if you can find it in your heart to forgive me, please come and see him. Every day he asks me where is his daddy and believe me Tony I can’t even answer him anymore. If would be forever grateful to you if you would just see him. … I’ll close now hoping and praying you will answer.

P.S. His name is Samuel Duane.”

Tony Tripani letter
The letter that Tony Trpiani found inside his wife's cabinet

Unfortunately, the letter was never read by Tony Tripani and it remained hidden all these years – until its discovery in 2014. After a near year-long search, Tony was finally able to meet his son, Samuel Childress, who is now 61-years-old himself. Samuel, who is a resident of Pennsylvania, met his father for the first time 61 years after he was born!

The story of how Tony Tripani was able to find his son is interesting in itself. After the letter was read, Tony informed his family members about the discovery. They started looking for Tony’s lost son and attempted to contact someone who could be related to Sam. However, success eluded them until two weeks ago when Tony’s sister Arlene Schulte managed to locate Sam’s wife, Donna, on Facebook. It was later revealed that Donna herself was on a mission to find Sam’s father for the past 23 years.

She adds the following.

“So Sam knew – we knew he had a father – we just didn’t know where he was or if he knew. To meet Tony and what I’ve known of Tony so far and I know my husband, they’re one in the same – they are one in the same.”

With the son and the father meeting up for the first time, they are planning to make up for the lost years and spend as much time together as possible. Samuel, who has three children of his own now, plans to shift to Grand Rapids so that they could be closer to Tony.

Holding his father’s hand, an overjoyed Childress says its all a miracle.

“It’s a miracle. I’m just glad now what time we have just to get to know him – that’s very important. It fills that void I’ve had over the years.”

Meanwhile, Tony, who is still recovering from the pleasant surprise of having a son at 81-years of age, said the following.

“It’s one of those things you think, ‘How could this happen?’ It’s fantastic – but why didn’t I know this ahead of time?”

Meanwhile, an online fundraiser has been set up to raise $450 that would be used to do a test that would confirm that Tony is indeed Samuel’s biological father, reports ABC News.

Last year, the Inquisitr had also reported about Rod Whitaker, who also managed to meet his father for the first time, 44 years after he was born.

[Images via Cory Morse, MLive]