Chance encounter leads to siblings meeting for the first time

Alice Ohms and Leon Yonaka

When Alice Ohms of Evansville turned 70 in October 2016, she received the most surprising of birthday presents – a brother.

Alice met with the North County News recently to share her story of how she found out she had two brothers she hadn’t known about and then going on a trip to meet her surviving brother.

Shortly after her birthday, she noted that her cousin had been in an airport in Washington and heard the name Yonaka over the speaker. As that was their maiden name and not a very common one, the cousin was curious to see who it belonged to and briefly met Callie Yonaka.

After hearing about this, Alice’s daughter Lisa Ohms-Schoenberger got on Facebook and contacted Callie, finding out they were indeed related.

Callie is married to Dave Yonaka, the son of George “GW” Yonaka. GW and his brother Leon were the sons of Lloyd Yonaka from his first marriage.

Alice was surprised as Lloyd was her father and he had never mentioned being married to anyone prior to her mother Adel.

With more research, Alice and Lisa were able to find out more of Lloyd’s history that had previously been unknown to them. Originally from Arkansas, he had married his first wife Themla at a young age. They had two sons, but he eventually left and started over with a new family. The boys were raised by Thelma’s parents and eventually moved out to Washington.

Leon and GW had been told about the other family, but were not allowed to contact them. Alice said that she believes Lloyd’s brothers, her uncles, also knew but were also not allowed to tell his new family.

For more on this story, please see this week’s print edition.