The pervasive nature of the Internet, a plethora of search engines and
Web sites that pop up on almost any topic have been a blessing in
reuniting the Hampton family.
the teen years of three brothers, their father, Western artist George
Leroy (Roy) Hampton, and their mother, Ann, would drop hints about an
older half brother. About two years ago, that half brother, Ron Olson,
south Kansas City, lost the father who raised him and believed the time
might be right to find the rest of his family.
“I had a great
father who raised me, but I knew there was more out there,” Olson said.
“I thought my biological father was a cartoonist who would have worked
for the Walter Lance Studios, but because of the Internet, I finally
found the right Web site known as askart.com.”
On that Web site,
Olson found clues such as the right year of birth for his father and
that Hampton served as an assistant animator for Walt Disney.
oldest Hampton, Bret, Valencia, Calif., had modified his father's
entry. Olson's wife, Lyn, pastor at Southbroadland Presbyterian Church,
7850 Holmes Road, posted a message on the Web site, pretending to be
“She masqueraded as me and I'm happy she did,” Ron
said. “I got Bret's number, but I was a little shy to call after all
these years, so I sent him my number and got a call that day.”
who had the role of oldest brother until meeting Ron, said he knew his
father had been married briefly, but not much more than that.
Bill Hampton, Homosassa, Fla., the middle brother, said that over the years he and Bret had conversations about finding Ron.
Tim Hampton, Spring Hill, Fla., learned about his older brother while going through a divorce.
mother, Julia, and Roy were married in 1946,” Ron said. “They separated
after a few months. The agreement was made that Gordon Olson, my
mother's second husband, would raise me.”
Roy Hampton's third wife, Joyce, said her husband gave up the idea of finding Ron out of love.
would talk about it once in a while,” she said. “Roy would wonder about
Ron's life, whether he served in the military too, and just what he was
like. Roy often wondered if his oldest son would hate him for the
choice he made.
“It really is a miracle that these brothers found each other.”
few pictures scanned and shared between the brothers cemented the
family. Ron e-mailed a wedding photo of Hampton and his mother. Bret
immediately recognized the mustache.
“There was no doubt after that,” Tim said, adding that he is glad Hampton's artwork led to the brothers reuniting.
“My dad made a living as an artist,” Bill said.
said Hampton painted portraits of actors such as John Wayne and Ned
Romero, landscapes, and Native Americans on reservations, especially
after seeing how the West played out on the silver screen.
Ron received a couple of pieces of art from Joyce at the first reunion last October.
The men said they became quick friends, but probably overloaded Ron with information, Bret said.
“We all felt like Ron was deprived of information,” Tim said.
visit to Kansas City two weeks ago included more stories and continued
to solidify the relationship between the four men and Joyce. The family
reunion also included Jason, Tim's son.
“Ron is the son who looks and sounds closest to Granddad,” Jason said.
similarities also emerged in the second visit. Lyn said the men, who
all love cars, as did Hampton, visited the I-70 Speedway.
more comfortable this time around,” Ron said. “We are becoming a
family. They want me to know Roy through them, and I am getting to know
“There really is no change in family dynamics,” Bill said. “We have more family and subsequently more life.”
Birth order has not affected the brothers either.
“The worst competition is on telling stories about Dad to Ron,” Tim said.
Bret said the brothers now have a permanent relationship.
“This is a family bond that this will last,” he said.