Siblings are reunited after years of separation

By Theo Tate
Posted 5/9/24

The Developmental Disabilities Assistance Board in Montgomery County has plenty of duties and one of them is reconnecting families.

The organization did just that in November 2023, when it …

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Siblings are reunited after years of separation


The Developmental Disabilities Assistance Board in Montgomery County has plenty of duties and one of them is reconnecting families.

The organization did just that in November 2023, when it reunited twin siblings Keven and Kathy Kayser after years of separation.
DDAB picked up Keven from a facility in Springfield and brought him to Kathy, who lives in Montgomery City. It was the first time they saw each other in over 30 years.

“It was incredible,” DDAB executive director Dan Cole said. “He was so happy. He was either calling (professional manager) Heather (Quivereaux) or Kathy a few times every week because he was so excited to meet his sister. It was cool.”

When the DDAB found out that Keven died on Jan. 30 in Springfield, it was determined to bring him back to Montgomery County. After working with the Wildey Cemetery and Columbarium in Washington (Franklin County), the DDAB got permission to pick up Keven’s ashes. They are sitting in a nine-pound box located in Cole’s office at the DDAB building.

Cole said the organization’s plan in the future is to have Keven and Kathy side by side in a marked grave upon Kathy’s passing. Kathy, who has a developmental disability, is currently living in a group home in the Montgomery City area.

“The story needs to go out because there are people who need to find their home, their final resting place,” Cole said. “Keven is a success story because we got him. He will be with family.”

While the DDAB picked up Keven’s ashes at the Wildey Cemetery and Columbarium, it found a historical connection with Montgomery County. Members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) are the caretakers of the cemetery. The I.O.O.F. is a fraternal group that was founded in Baltimore, Md., in the early 1800s with a mission to “visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphans.” On top of a building at 120 Sturgeon Street in Montgomery City near the 4-way stop, there is a marker that said, “I.O.O.F., No. 123, 1882.”

“It was fun,” Cole said. “It was intriguing. It’s a story worth telling.”

Cole met with cemetery volunteer Dave Annable to pick up the remains and found out about the cemetery’s connection with the Odd Fellows.

“They have a great history in themselves,” Cole said. “There is a belief that the Odd Fellows were named the Odd Fellows because during the 1800s when they were having those plagues, nobody wanted to go and get the bodies. This group of people decided to take care of the bodies.”

Born in 1964, Keven was separated from Kathy when they were infants. In 1992, they were reunited at a mall. Keven returned from using the bathroom when he found out that Kathy was gone. He had to wait another 31 years to see his sister.

In 2023, DDAB made accommodations to have the Kayser twins reunite after one of Kathy’s support staff members found a birthday card that Keven sent to Kathy for her birthday in 1992.

“We had eight hours with Keven just to ask questions about anything,” Cole said. “He was open about anything. He was a really cool guy.”

Cole said he has known Kathy for over 30 years.

“For the 30 years I knew Kathy, I thought I was her only family,” Cole said. “I’m not related to her, but I’ve been in her life longer than anyone else has and she considers me her family. When I find their real family, you better believe that I’m going to connect with them.”

After the reunion on November 18-19, 2023, Keven and Kathy continued to keep in touch with each other until Keven’s passing from complications of a hernia surgery in January.

After finding out Keven’s passing in February, DDAB contacted coroner Dave Colbert, who told the organization that Keven’s remains were at the Wildey Cemetery and Columbarium, the only known place in the world that takes unclaimed remains.

Annable said he’s excited anytime families reunite with their loved one’s remains.

“We had a lot of people who pass through because they come to us and family members are able to locate them,” Annable said. “From there, we reunite them. We’re just tickled to death that this can happen and that they know where they’re going to bury his remains. That way, he will have a final resting place with family members.”


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