A Family Reunion

Jon Dupre Finds His Father

By talking to family members and tracking government checks, Jon Dupre finally found his father.

"I was terrified. I was nervous," recalls Jon Dupre of how he felt before meeting his father. "As soon as I saw him up the street I shouted at he cabbie, 'Stop! Let me out here.'"

After six months of looking, Jon Dupre located Bob Dupre in San Diego. He hadn't seen him in 20 years.

His first reaction: to take a picture.

"He was standing out there with a Styrofoam cup of coffee in his hands and plastic bag in which (he) had (an) old sweater that he had gotten out of the dumpster," Jon Dupre says.

Jon Dupre was seeing firsthand what he had feared all along: Not only was his father moving from town to town without a job and not much money, his father, now 72, was homeless.

"I had a good cry, let it all out....I gathered my composure again; I crossed the street," says Jon Dupre. "I stood five feet away from him....He didn't even know it was me. I had to say, 'Dad, it's me.' He bolted upright, threw his arms open. Then he realized, 'Holy hell, this kid is here to confront me,'" Jon Dupre adds.

But before Jon Dupre could make his father listen to 20 years of questions, he wanted to get to know him. For the next two weeks, father and son spent every day together just getting by on the streets of San Diego.

"He had a buddy who rented a room in the Pickwick hotel which was the downtown flophouse in San Diego. We slept on the floor. You survive from hour to hour out there on the street," says Jon Dupre.

Bob Dupre remembers those two weeks: "He came all the way from Boston to find out why (I) left him when he was 15 years old."

And given all that had happened and all Jon Dupre had bottled up, there was bound to be a confrontation.

"I snapped," Jon Dupre says. "I started asking questions. First of all, 'Why did you leave us, where did you go, and why are you homeless now?'"

Recalls Bob Dupre: "He just more or less says, 'You will tell me this before I leave!!'"

Did he answer Jon Dupre's question about why he left the family?

Basically the father told the son, "Leave me alone about why I chose to live the way I live; it's none of your business," recalls Jon Dupre. "That is where I lost my composure," Jon Dupre adds.

"I began shouting and screaming; I grabbed him," he adds. "I noticed my dad's head jerk back and forth."

"I had been shaking him so hard his jaw dropped open and his eyes rolled back in his head," Jon Dupre recalls. "I attacked him."

Jon Dupre had to be pulled off his father.

"I could have killed him for all I know. I was that angry," Jon Dupre says.

Did the father finally answer his questions? "Well, I finally picked him up, dragged him over to a bench, and we sat there....Nobody spoke a word until he spoke," says Jon Dupre. "He said, 'I'm sorry. He finally said, 'I'm sorry.'"

In that one moment, Jon Dupre says he found his father and forgiveness.

"I knew he meant it when he said he was sorry and I forgave him right then and there without deciding to forgive him; it just happened," Jon Dupre says.

What did Bob Dupre say? "Of course, I hope to God he knows I am sorry for doing that to Jon and my other children," Bob Dupre says. Did he mean it? "I certainly did. I know that I'm selfish and egotistical," Bob Dupre says. "I know all of that."

When 48 Hours caught up with Bob Dupre recently, he was in Tucson, Ariz., still on the streets, smoking a lot of marijuana and barely getting by on monthly government checks.

"That's my Samsonite," says Bob Dupre of a plastic bag with all his belongings.

"I'm popular out here....I'm well known....I'm called judge, counselor," Bob Dupre says. "I enjoy myself....I have good relationships....I still feel important."

"Many people have tried to reel him in, rehabilitate him, save him, give him a place to live," Jon Dupre explains.

That includes Jon Dupre's two brothers:

Darryl Dupre, single and a contractor even invited his dad to live with him at one point.

"Money wasn't going to help him," Darryl Dupre says. "Him moving in with me wouldn't help. None of that would help. He would still revert to the same behavior pattern."

Marq Dupre, now a basketball coach, says he has come to terms with his father but even at his age he can't hide the emotional impact of being abandoned.

Why isn't he angrier?

"I wouldn't have chose another dad. That's my dad," Marq Dupre says crying. "I love him. I love him."

Some might suggest Bob Dupre is lucky his boys even think of him at all.

Does he think he deserves to be forgiven? "Everybody deserves to be forgiven," says Bob Dupre. "I don't care what some people say. I go by what Jesus Christ said."

But Jon Dupre says he had to forgive - to have the life he has today.

"We pray that Grandpa Bob has enough to eat today," Jon Dupre said in a dinner blessing.

Does forgiveness make everything better?

"Yeah, yeah. I can't tell you how to do it. I can't tell you what the steps are to it, but I can tell you this....I'm finished, I'm done. I'm not angry anymore. It's all gone," he says.

Click here to review how Jon Dupre came to realize why he had to search for his father.

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