Calling local resident Ken Juber gregarious is like calling the Titanic a boat; Juber has a bigger than life personality and now he finally knows where it comes from.
All his life Juber felt a little off from the rest of his Juber family, a gray sheep as you will, not the bad guy, just the different one. His hair, eyes and features along with his personality didn’t quite match up to his mom, dad or his lifelong siblings. All his life, these were the only branches on his family tree that he was aware of, he learned to accept it but still questioned a lot. The thoughts of ‘something being off’ was a nagging one Juber carried with him for 64 years. The family he grew up with maintained the notion that whatever was off was all in his own head. His oldest Juber sibling, Pat, was the most adamant about debunking Ken’s suspicions and, initially, the least accepting of the truth.
About six or seven years prior, Juber appeared in a commercial for DNA testing with a company called DNA Spectrum. Part of the compensation package was a free DNA test; his results were suspicious. His DNA didn’t match with the family history. His sisters debunked the whole theory of DNA saying they were “doctored” or in some way misleading, tricking him into thinking he’d made some sort of discovery.
In 2018, at the age of Sixty-four, Juber received another DNA test from Ancestry.com for a Christmas gift. He took the test and sent it in.
When the results of Juber’s Ancestry.com DNA test came back, his family tree became more like a “family puzzle” than a tree, much bigger than before, and many of the pieces were missing. Juber’s feelings were confirmed, he was only half blood to the family he grew up with.
Juber went to work with the fervency of a CSI investigator, FBI agent and a representative of the Bureau of Vital Statistics all rolled into one, and in a short time found his other blood relatives. As it turned out, Juber’s mom had a discreet love affair with Rene Brunelle, a loom mechanic who lived in his hometown and worked with his mom.
Juber now has 12 new Brunelle brothers and sisters to add to his family tree and they all grew up in the same small town that Juber and his four other siblings grew up in. Juber laughs at the possibility of dating one of his sisters during his high school years but shutters at the thought of that having been a true threat. He doesn’t recall ever meeting any of them in his youth and neither do they. Once found, Ken had the opportunity to talk with several of the Brunelles who were more than welcoming and instantly began organizing the family reunion/union.
The Brunelle “Welcome to the family reunion” was held on Father’s Day weekend in Cumberland, RI, and for the first time Ken and his Brunelle brothers and sisters met face to face.
The mystery has been solved and Ken now knows where many of his inherit traits come from. He has many of the same character traits, mannerisms and talents of several of the Brunelle family members. His love for entertaining and creative arts comes from the Brunelle side, the Juber side was all office, factory or blue collar oriented while the Brunelle side has many members in either the arts or some sort of entertainment field.
Juber’s sister Pat, who is now 80, was present at the reunion. She enjoyed meeting her little brother’s new family and said, “When Ken said he had proof (that he had a different father), I didn’t want to believe it, but Kenny doesn’t look like any of us,” she said. “I met all of (the Brunelle family) today, they’re very accepting. … They’re a loving family.”
The pieces of the family puzzle have now all fallen place, “grafting” the Jubers and Brunelles which gives Ken Juber an incredibly large family tree. It was an experience he’d subconsciously been waiting for all his life and he said, “It was an incredibly heartwarming experience to meet them after 64 years and know that they are now in my life forever.”