A surprise at the Dairy Queen

Bill Clough photo Bill Corey and his newfound daughter, Sherri Dougherty.

Bill Corey – Goliad’s proverbial man about town – stared at the letter in disbelief.

He is 78; the letter, postmarked Mineral Wells, stated that DNA testing indicated he had a daughter.

Corey already has two sons and a daughter.

Around the start of 2019, Corey was visiting with his son, Larry, in Corpus Christi. Larry insisted that his father swab his mouth for a DNA test.

Corey didn’t think much about it until, out of the blue, he got the letter.

“I don’t need another daughter,” Corey thought.

Then letters started appearing in Corey’s mailbox from someone named Sherri Dougherty, saying that she might be his daughter.

Corey ignored them.

“All these years, Dougherty says, “I always wondered who my dad was. Mom never told me.”

Her mother died in a fire in 2015.

“I thought I had all the time in the world to find out who was my dad.”

So, she took a DNA test. It listed Corey’s granddaughter as the best match, she explained. “At first, I was scared to contact Dad,’ she admits. Finally, she sent a letter asking “Couldn’t we meet?”

Corey ignored her pleas.

Dougherty began communicating with Corey’s son, Larry, on Facebook.

Corey’s children started pressuring him to get in contact.

After each letter, Corey kept telling himself, “I got three kids; I don’t need another.”

By her fourth letter, Dougherty says, “I figured he wasn’t going to write me back. So, I decided I was going to make it easy for him. I included a self-addressed stamped envelope, and the letter itself was multiple choice. All he had to do was check what was appropriate.”

The choices included:

•Come on down.

•Don’t bother me.

•Give me some time.

•If you come, bring dinner.

•I don’t remember your mom, much.

Corey answered that one, checking the first and fourth suggestion.

Finally, on Monday, Bill sat in the local Dairy Queen waiting for a daughter he had never met.

“I was almost too nervous to go in,” Dougherty admits. “When I walked in he was sitting over there with a stern look on his face. So I walked up to him and said ‘Hi, I’m Sherri.”

“Hi, I’m your dad,” Corey replied.

“I’m the child that didn’t cost you anything,” she answered.

Corey, one day removed from the reunion, says, “It feels like a million years ago.”

Father and daughter _ along with her husband, Brian – took a tour of Goliad.


“Right now, I’m going to keep sending you those check-off letters,” Dougherty says.

Bill Clough is the Goliad editor at the Advance-Guard Press and can be reached at 361-645-2330, or at goliad@mySouTex.com.