Man Reunited With Family 26 Years After They Were Told He Was Dead

Playing Daughter Reunites With Father 26 Years After Being Told He Was Dead

After thinking her dad had been dead for the past three decades, a woman discovered he is still very much alive

Ronnie Rudolph moved to Tennessee after splitting from his wife years ago. Their daughter, Janie Rudolph, would keep in touch with Ronnie once in a while by calling him at his job at a concrete plant in Lebanon.

One day 26 years ago, Janie called the plant to speak with her father and said she was told Ronnie had had a heart attack and died, she said.

"I believed it and I didn't investigate it,” Janie told WTVF.  “I moved around, I was married and I had my family and I didn't have money, so I just felt like I couldn't do anything much."

Janie spread the news to other family members and they all moved on without questioning the death until recently, following the death of her mother four months ago.

"I started looking for a death certificate and I could not find one on my father, so we were thinking he might be alive somewhere," Janie said.  

With the help of her own daughter, Janie learned her father was still alive in Lebanon. “I was very much in shock, I couldn't believe it, I thought I was having a dream," Janie said.

Two weeks later, Janie contacted Ronnie, who told his daughter he thought no one had wanted him anymore. They were so excited to have found each other, they planned a family reunion to celebrate.

So after nearly 30 years of thinking her father has been dead, Janie and other family members traveled from Georgia and Kentucky to be with Ronnie in Tennessee.

The emotional reunion was captured on camera. Janie can be seen looking around for her father in the front yard of the house and knocking on the front door.

Later, Janie heads for the driveway, where she sees Ronnie hugging his sister, Juanita Elliot, 84. The two hadn't seen each other since their father’s funeral in 1992.

"I was happy and glad to hear it and here I am 84 years old and he's just 72, if anybody is supposed to be dead it ought to be me," Elliott told WTVF.

Then, it was then Janie’s turn to hug her father and the two clung onto one another.

“It feels good,” Ronnie told WTVF.

Ronnie had not suffered a heart attack, but did have two strokes, making it difficult for him to speak. It is not known why Janie was told her father had died.

“I love you,” Janie said to her father.

“I love you too,” he replied.

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