Sisters find each other after 60 years of separation

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on November 20, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 20 at 7:40 PM

DFW AIRPORT — As others greet at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, 80-year-old Gwyneth Smith waits nervously for a happy reunion with her sister.

"I've not seen her in over 60 years," she said. "Last time I saw her, we were in London and she was beginning to be a teenager. I was 20 and she was about 13."

Gwyneth lost touch with her little sister Avril after moving from England to travel the world with her military husband. That was the time of letters.

And then, in July, the age of computers brought two lost families together. Gwyneth's grown daughter Nerissa Lindsey made contact with a cousin she’d never met in England.

"We were all looking for each other on the Internet and we found each other with People Finder, and she found us... first try," Lindsey said. "From there it's been a roller coaster beyond any scope I've ever imagined. And now we get to meet."

Both families had been trying for years to find each other. But marriages, changed names, and deaths made tracking difficult. Gwyneth had even taken out newspaper advertisements in England.

After weeks of careful planning, Avril and Gwyneth finally met at DFW Airport.

Each carried with them only a memory of how they looked as young ladies. Gwyneth is now 80 and Avril is 74. Yet, recognition was instant.

It didn't take long to start joking, as only siblings would have the nerve.

"I would recognize Jean [Gwyneth] anywhere — even if it's just for the gap between her teeth," Avril Cottee quipped. "My mother used to say, 'She could put half a crown...' now that's old money... 'she could put half a crown between those teeth!'"

Cancer nearly took Gwyneth's life last year. Neither believed they'd ever see each other again.

But no disease — not an ocean — nor six decades of separation could keep these two sisters apart.

"I think it's a miracle," Avril said, hugging her sister tightly.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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