- Associated Press - Monday, July 7, 2014

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A 90-year-old woman who lost her memory after a fire left her comatose in 1992 has been reunited with her family in Gulfport.

Celestine Gandy Thompson was in a coma for nearly two years after the fire in Buffalo, New York, and had struggled since then to recover her memory, WLOX-TV (https://bit.ly/1r0XiHm ) reported.

Nephew Donald Davis said he and his brother were sure she had died because it was so long since they’d heard from her.

“We were overwhelmed and overjoyed when we found out that we had gotten in contact with her,” he said Saturday, when Thompson met many of her nieces, nephews, and their descendants.

Thompson now lives with a caretaker in Greensboro, Alabama.

She said she left her Mississippi home in 1957, when she was 14, because she wanted to see the world.

A few relatives had gone to visit her in Buffalo after a woman there tracked down the only one whose name Thompson recalled.

“The girl asked me, she said, ‘How long has it been, and did you ever find any of your biological family?’ I said, ‘No baby, I wouldn’t know where to start,’” Thompson recounted.

One name came to mind: nephew Clarence Woolard.

“She went into the phone and she found him,” Thompson said.

Relatives arranged a much bigger reunion Saturday in Gulfport with Thompson.

“It’s a blessing. I prayed for this day - that the good Lord would let me live long enough for this day to come together to be with my family again,” said Thompson.

Not everyone could attend the reunion. Thompson has 23 nieces and nephews, 64 grand nieces and nephews, 66 great-grand nieces and nephews and 34 great-great-grand nieces and nephews.

___

Information from: WLOX-TV, https://www.wlox.com

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