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Father meets daughter for first time after 50 years


By Zach Crenshaw,

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis father met his daughter for the first time Wednesday night. The reunion came more than 50 years after he left Germany while serving in the Army.

“She was pregnant when I left. Standing up there [on the dock],” said Daniel Luster Jr. “Crying, I’m crying. Both of us crying. But I had to go. Didn’t have no choice but to go.”

Daniel said goodbye to his German sweetheart that day in 1963, and their unborn daughter.

“It was hard, real hard,” said Luster.

Luster, 74, said the Army’s red tape and Germany’s cultural norms surrounding inter-racial couples kept him from staying.

“I was very angry for a lot of years after that, because I couldn’t understand. I had served, I did everything I was supposed to do and I couldn’t marry who I wanted to marry.”

He also couldn’t be present to watch his daughter grow up.

Daniel moved back to Memphis and eventually lost touch.

“We had some good times, but I couldn’t speak any German and she couldn’t speak English.”

Decades passed, and Daniel remarried. He had 6 other kids.

Then a friend helped him find his first. The little girl who was raiseda world away in Munich.

“[My friend] got on Facebook and found her, and she called me one day and said, ‘Is this your daughter?’ ‘I said yeah baby that’s her.'” The two began texting.

“She said you’ve got to either come over here or I’ve got to come there. And I said baby, you know money is funny.” She said I’ve got to hold my daddy…I said baby you think I’m going to try to stop you? Come on!”

That’s why Daniel was at the airport Wednesday night.

When he saw her from across the concourse he said, “That’s her alright, she walks just like her mama.”



The two shared an embrace and uncontrollable smile.

“It’s like a dream, a dream come true,” said Jeannette Weiss, who brought her son and Daniel’s grandson Raphael along with her.

For Daniel, it was a moment he’d chased for decades.

“You do 1,000 things in life but you still ain’t got that one thing. Now I got it. This is the complete,” said Luster.

As for what’s next, there is a lot for dad and daughter to catch up on after 54 years.

“It’s incredible. It really is. It’s beautiful,” said the father.

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