It was a prayer that continued for five decades. That prayer was answered recently when 70-year-old Senoia resident Bob Lisle for the first time met his biological father.
Above, Senoia resident Bob Lisle (in red shirt) gives his biological father, 88-year-old Floyd Sheffield, a hug as the two meet for the first time in March in Winterhaven, Fla. Standing nearby is Bob’s brother, Jeff Sheffield. Photo/Submitted.
Bob’s wife, Delores, said Bob’s mother was 17 years old when Bob was born. Given the circumstances, Bob never knew his real dad.
Growing up, Bob had eight younger siblings, and was often told he did not look like them, Delores explained.
In fact, Bob never saw a birth certificate until he had to produce one when he was drafted into the military in 1969.
As the years rolled by, Bob continued to be told he did not look like his other siblings. Finally one day decades later, Bob’s son told him, “You should find your dad.”
Delores said it was then that Bob called an aunt. Turns out she knew where Bob’s biological father lived, and she knew his name, Delores said. Bob then called a cousin, who told him, “Yes, I’ve been wanting to tell you for years.”
“His aunt talked about Floyd Sheffield being a great guy,” Delores continued.
Bob and Delores found Floyd on Facebook, and found that he had three sons and a daughter. Bob initially sent a message to one of the sons in October 2017, but received no response. He wrote a second son, but again no response. It was in February that he wrote the third son, Delores said.
Bob and Delores found out later that the three sons talked about each receiving the messages. It was then that the three brothers got their sister involved. Upon learning that she and her brothers had another brother, “She went to her dad’s house, woke him up and read the message,” Delores said. “That’s when Floyd said, ‘Yes, that’s when we were 17 and she got pregnant.’”
It turns out that Floyd’s relatives paid the hospital bill, and Floyd was told not to contact the mother, Delores explained, adding that Floyd did not know anything about the birth and did not know the baby’s gender.
With contact now made, Bob and Delores traveled to Florida for Easter. They went to services at the church where one of Bob’s brothers attended.
“He saw Bob and came running to the back and grabbed him,” Delores said. “He grabbed Bob and hugged him and said, ‘Yep, you’re our brother.’”
Next day, everyone drove to Winterhaven so that Floyd and Bob could meet.
“We walked in his dad’s house and Bob’s sister grabbed him and hugged him,” Delores said with a smile. “All Bob’s siblings and their spouses were gathered at the house. That was the most blessed day we’ve ever had.”
Asked about meeting his dad for the first time, Bob with tears in his eyes said, “It was very touching and gut-wrenching. It’s hard to explain how after all the searching, to put my arms around him and he was really there. We both said, ‘I love you and I forgive you.’ We sat for hours. I wanted to be as close to him as I could get. I wanted this and prayed for this for almost 50 years. It was at the top of my prayer list. To know it came true is awesome.”
Since they all met, two of Bob’s brothers have visited Senoia. Aside from all the phone calls, Floyd Sheffield, too, visited Senoia during Labor Day, and met his other grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“We’re one close family now. It took 70 years for that to happen,” Delores said, beaming. “He always says, ‘I love you, son.’”