WALDOBORO, Maine — On Tuesday’s “Today” show, Joanne Campbell of Warren told the nation that she and her two newly reunited Waldoboro brothers were looking for another long-lost sister.
That sister, Kathleen Cooper, happened to be watching from her home in Florida — and by the Wednesday morning broadcast on NBC, the four siblings had an emotional reunion on live TV.
“We’re all dumbfounded,” Randy Joubert, 36, told “Today” show host Meredith Viera just moments after meeting Cooper for the first time. “But we can start getting to know each other now.”
The story of the two men who worked together for weeks at Dow Furniture in Waldoboro before realizing they were brothers has swept through Maine, the country and now is starting to intrigue the world.
Joubert and Gary Nisbet, 35, shared their experience over the last two weeks with local newspapers and news shows. One week ago, Campbell showed up at the furniture gallery saying that she was their half-sister and had the birth certificate and other paperwork to prove it.
“I’m really awestruck,” Campbell told the BDN last week. “After all these years, here I am 41 and now I finally found my brothers.”
All the siblings had been born to the same mother, who apparently suffered from emotional problems and was abusive. They ended up in foster care and then adoptive families after the state took them away from her.
Joubert recently gained access to his adoption records through Maine’s new law and found the names of his biological mother and father — Wilfred and Joan Pomroy, both of whom are now deceased.
Joubert learned he had a younger brother from the same parents, but was uncertain of how to locate him.
Then he took a job at Dow Furniture in July and began working with Nisbet, who looks so much like him they could be twins. But it wasn’t until they’d worked together for nearly two months that they realized they actually were brothers.
After word of the brothers’ reunion got out, they soon learned about their sister Joanne Campbell.
But the family of siblings still wasn’t complete, as one sister was still missing. Her birth name had been Claire Marie, and Campbell said she had even gone to high school with her in Maine.
“I knew my freshman year that she was my sister, but I was told she didn’t know, so I respected that,” Campbell said Wednesday on the “Today” show.
Cooper was brought to the program for a surprise reunion with Campbell, Joubert and Nisbet. The four — who share a family resemblance — hugged one another tearfully.
“Down is up, and up is down,” Joubert said on the program.
The world seems a little topsy-turvy at Dow Furniture, too, which has been inundated by media calls from all over the country and even England, according to employee Bill Maxwell.
“It’s been unbelievable,” he said Wednesday. “Everyone from People Magazine to Ellen DeGeneres to radio stations throughout the country [has been calling]. It’s pretty much all we’ve done for a week and a half. It’s been pretty crazy.”
He said that Dow Furniture staff has started a list of missed calls for Joubert and Nisbet for when they return. That list has stretched to 25 pages and counting of names and phone numbers, he said, including the BBC, the Tyra Banks show, Inside Edition and CNN.
According to WLBZ NewsCenter 2, yet another of Joubert and Nisbet’s half-siblings was located Wednesday — George Pomroy of Biddeford. Pomroy, the son of Wilfred Pomroy by another marriage, apparently is their elder half-brother. The Waldoboro brothers could not be reached for comment on that development Wednesday.
Despite the unaccustomed fuss, everyone at Dow Furniture is glad for the two brothers who work together there.
“They’re pretty good eggs,” Maxwell said.