Daughter finds father after 50 years through tree carving story
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Toni Crawford grew up without knowing who her biological father was. After over 50 years of wondering, Crawford credits a local news story with reuniting her with her dad.
"Some kids can live without knowing where they come from, but I was never that type of kid. I wanted answers," the 51-year-old Estacada woman said.
All Crawford had to go on was a name - Duane Malloroy.
The name Duane Malloroy was broadcast on her local TV news station ran a story from KVAL News about a Springfield man carving an old willow tree stump into a bear sculpture in his front yard. She said hearing the name brought her hope that the search for her father could soon be over.
"I've been looking my whole life. On the third day, that was it. I said I have to leave. I have to do this," Crawford said.
"I see the tree, so I know I've got the right place. And I see somebody out back, so I walked out back," she said.
After a few tear-filled moments, Crawford set to work explaining to Malloroy their possible long-lost connection.
"We got talking about times and dates. It all came together," said Malloroy.
Raymond Duane Malloroy, who often goes by his middle name, says he was discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1962.
Shortly afterward he travelled to Lake Oswego with his friend Robert, who had a sister named Carol. Carol is Crawford's mother.
"I don't think it would have totally tore me apart if I didn't know the truth, but I'm so happy we met," she said.
Now Crawford's visits to Springfield have become a weekly routine, catching up with the side of her family she's meeting for the first time.