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Johnson City father reunites with daughter after 34 years

March 13th, 2014 8:41 pm by Tony Casey

Johnson City father reunites with daughter after 34 years

Left to right, Frederick Tuvek hugs his daughter Rosemary Dennis, her son Jesse Soto, and his wife, Janet.

Janet Tuvek, of west Johnson City, might have to set up more seats around the table at family gatherings after a recent reunion. And that’s perfectly fine with her.

Frederick Tuvek, 68 and originally of Massachusetts, was recently contacted through social media that his daughter and grandson had been looking for him and were planning a trip down from his home state to his Lilly Drive residence.

Thirty-four years had passed since 45-year-old Rosemary Dennis, formerly Tuvek, was separated from her father when he and his wife split. Tuvek’s first wife, adamant to keep father and daughter separate, made the divide that lasted nearly 40 years. Dennis, not happy with her mother’s decision to keep them apart but sympathetic to her situation, took to Facebook in the last few weeks to see what results she could turn up when searching for the name Tuvek.

While she was checking on leads, her 18-year-old son, Jesse Soto, was also secretly pursuing the opportunity to find his grandfather through Facebook. Even though his mom was in hot pursuit, Soto felt with his efforts, he could increase the chances of his mother finding her father and his chances of finding his grandfather for himself and his four other siblings.

“Mom, have you heard anything yet?” Soto would inquire, all while doing his own searches. He said the positive energy he was putting out there in contacting people with the Tuvek last name would one way or another bring in a successful result.

And it did.

Soto had contacted a cousin of Janet Tuvek’s, who turned him on to his step-grandmother and ultimately brought Dennis in contact with her father.

Dennis and Soto quickly hit the road from Westfield, Mass., and took the troublesome trek down to Johnson City, fighting traffic on the George Washington Bridge and heavy eyes on the 15-hour straight-shot drive.

When they finally arrived late Wednesday, it was an emotional situation for all involved, Dennis said. Because they’d had so much trouble finding each other over the years, each thought something tragic must have happened to keep them away from one another. When the door to the house was opened, with Janet Tuvek recording the event, they embraced and quickly reacquainted.

“I was on the seventh plateau of joy,” Frederick Tuvek said about reuniting with his daughter.

Dennis was just as joyed as her father, which held true to the memories she had of him in the years when they’d been apart. She had only the best thoughts of her father, saying he was her world for the first six or so years of her life.

“He was my everything,” Dennis said. “When we split, my world crashed.”

As long as 34 years might have been, her world did come back together. Currently, she’s in hot pursuit of a special education master’s degree, which she expects to complete by next year. After her degree is complete, she might ride the inspiration she’s found in locating her father and move here for good. The similarities she’s seeing between her father and herself are uncanny, she says. Her father, too, received a master’s degree in education.

He also served in the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam, which is ultimately what brought him to East Tennessee. He came down to receive treatment at the Veterans Affairs Center at Mountain Home, where he was aided by a younger Janet Tuvek, who was born and raised in Elizabethton.

From that point on, it’s been love ever since. Frederick Tuvek isn’t ashamed to say he’s got it right the second time, drawing praise and appreciation from his daughter and grandson, who are happy to see him in such a happy relationship.

The next step for the newly extended family will be a trip in July in which all of Dennis’ children will drive down to Johnson City to meet their grandfather the way Soto had. Dennis says her children also have characteristics she can see in her father.

Soto, for example, is an aspiring hip-hop artist who will be moving to Brooklyn to pursue his dream further. Dennis says she’s not musical in the least and insists Soto gets that from Frederick Tuvek, who says he has played guitar in many bands, including the Rocking Midnighters. Between that, a love for animals and a striking resemblance, she knows she found her father.

Despite Frederick Tuvek’s attempts to find his daughters, he suspected he was hitting blocks because of the efforts of Dennis’ mother. But he never gave up hope.

“If there’s a will,” Janet Tuvek quoted her husband saying. “He knew she’d find him.”

And she did, and acted like she didn’t lose a step. Since the visit is only a few days, with Dennis returning back to her classes in Massachusetts on Monday, she and her father are both overwhelmed, knowing they can only catch up so much in the short time they have. So, they’ll use social media, which brought them back together, to continue the process until July comes.

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