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Lawd have mercy! When a friend first told me about this story, I couldn’t believe it. It sounded like some type of movie. How could someone go through their adult life, married to their own father, the whole town and her family knew and NO ONE thought that she should know? WTH?
This is exactly what happened to Valerie Spruill of Doylestown, Ohio who went public with her family drama this month when it was published in the Akron Beacon Journal. Spruill was finally told the truth in 2004 by an uncle, six years after her husband had died. DNA test confirmed that her husband was indeed her father, using one of his old hair brushes. “It is devastating. It can destroy you,” Spruill told CNN. “It almost did.”
She said that she fought the natural inclination to hate him, “because people who hate don’t get into heaven And if you don’t make it into heaven when the time comes, you can’t hit the rewind button and try again.”
Spruill’s life was one filled with turmoil from the beginning. Her mother was a prostitute who testified in the 1980 trial of Summit County Probate Judge James Barbuto, who was eventually convicted of sex charges. Her parents got together when her father was 15 years old. She is not sure about how many children they had but she does know that she has 6 brothers.
At 3 months old, Spruill was shipped off to live with her grandparents. At the age of nine, she discovered that the man that she thought to be her father was really her grandfather and the family friend that came to visit was actually her mother. No one ever told her who her biological father was.
Spruill was divorced with 3 children when she met and married, Percy Spruill. He was a good provider. “We had a good life.”
Throughout her marriage, she heard rumors that her husband was her father and thought they were ridiculous. “I don’t know if he ever knew or not. That conversation didn’t come up,” she said. “I think if he did know, there is no way he could have told me.”
Percy died in April 1998 at the age of 60. By this time, her mother and grandparents ha passed away and her uncle finally told her the truth. After finding out the truth, the stress of it all almost killed her. She suffered 2 strokes and was diagnosed with diabetes. “Pain and stress will kill, and I had to release my stress,” Spruill said. “I’m just telling the story to release my pain.”
At the age of 60, Spruill, who is retired from the accounting department at Goodyear, where she worked for 34 years has been seeing a therapist to help her get through what can only be called a “tragedy.” She said that she has always had a deep faith in God and said, ” “You have to have faith. If God brought me this far, he’s not going to leave me now.”
Spruill has told her 3 children and 8 grandchildren the truth about their father-grandfather after being advised to do so by her therapist. “They have been so supportive. They are telling me they love me, telling me they will do whatever I need,” she said.
By telling her incredible story, she is hoping to locate her other siblings that she never knew. ‘My biggest goal is to find them and let ’em know that [their mother] loved them, no matter what,’ she said. “And [to say], ‘Thank God she gave you away like she did me, so you could have a beautiful life.”
Spruill is also writing down her story in hopes to turn it into a book.
“It’s a miracle how God reveals and heals at the same time, and he gives you that blessing to keep on going. …
“If this old lady done come through all this, and God’s still got her here and still with a good heart — because you find so many mean, vicious people in the world, and you don’t have to be — you can love no matter what you’ve come through or where you’ve been in this world.”