Where's Gary? Woman looking for biological father in Calgary

The details are scant: his first name, his job and a connection to the Prairies.

But a California woman is hoping to track down the father she never got the chance to know.

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Toni Rempel placed a newspaper ad this weekend on behalf of her half-sister Bonnie Eklund, 45, who has been hoping to reconnect with her father who doesn't even know she exists.

"You want to know what somebody looks like. You want to know if you have other siblings. You want to see somebody that may be from that side of the family, to see if there's some familiarity," Eklund told CTV Calgary.

In the summer of 1969, Eklund's mother, Vernette, had a love affair in Tisdale, Sask., with a pharmaceutical representative named Gary, who lived in Calgary.

Vernette Eklund was working as a nurse at the Regina General Hospital and met Gary at a nightclub at the Westward Inn in Regina.

"They had a love affair that lasted through the summer, and then ended," said Rempel, who lives in Kelowna, B.C.

Gary was not informed when Vernette Eklund became pregnant, and Bonnie was born in April 1970.

"It was the summer of '69 and there was all of that free love," Rempel told The Canadian Press.

Vernette Eklund, who is now 69, worked long shifts at the hospital. With no proper daycare, she gave up her daughter for adoption when she was two, and she was raised by her grandparents.

"They were everything to me," said Bonnie Eklund. "I had a wonderful upbringing."

Eklund -- who is working as a doctor in San Diego, Calif. -- spent decades wondering about his father and his life, but didn't have the nerve to track him down. However, she relented when Rempel offered to place the newspaper ad.

"She's told me over the years that she feels there's a part of her missing and she wishes she knew, but she doesn't really have the courage herself to go searching. I asked her if it was OK if I did," said Rempel.

"We're trying to figure out who he is and trying to establish a possible connection for Bonnie to meet her father."

Rempel said that Gary, who would've been in his 20s at the time, would fly into Regina for his job. She said that he was about six feet tall, slender and had blond hair.

"His last name ends with something 'Ski,'" she added. "He may be of Polish (or) Ukrainian descent."

So far, the newspaper ad has yet to yield any leads.

Should Gary's identity come to light, Eklund says she would love to meet him, but she says she has no expectations.

"Unless you've walked in (my) shoes, it's hard for people to know it is not a matter of not feeling complete, it's just … curiosity," said Eklund.

Anyone with information that could help identify Eklund's father is being asked to contact Rempel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

With a report from CTV Calgary's Shaun Frenette and files from The Canadian Press


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