Frank L. Christlieb, multiplatform copy editor of Dallas Morning News, was in college at Texas A&M when he found out through his mother that he had been adopted. He wasn’t all that surprised, as he didn’t look at all like the family who had adopted him. In 2005, after a falling out with his adoptive father and brother, he began searching for his biological family.
Through a great deal of internet searching and a host of local public records, he found that his birth mother, Betty Workman, had died 13 years earlier. At the hospital when he was born, she had listed herself as Mrs. Richard Williams. As it turned out, that was a fabrication, although the initials of his father remained the same. A DNA test confirmed his birth father had been her ex-husband, Robert Workman. He had fathered two other sons and a daughter with her during their marriage, who Christlieb was able to meet later in 2005. They helped him gain a better picture of the man who, under different circumstances, would have been his father.
Robert’s lifetime of alcohol abuse and drunken conduct had plagued their family life and ultimately contributed to his death. The alcoholism was no doubt a contributing factor in his molestation of his oldest son. On July 2, 1962, the body of Robert Workman was recovered from the Davis Shipping channel. It had been in the water for over 24 hours. A drunken brawl on the Fortune Street Bridge ended when he was thrown into the water. Although there was much in his life for his children to be upset or angry about, they tell a tale of love and forgiveness.
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