Barbara Duane Clark

Hi everyone,

If you’ve read my blog in the past, you know how much I love a good mystery. Well, if it seems my blog posts have been a little infrequent lately, it’s because I’ve been working “off the grid” on a different kind of mystery. It’s a personal story that didn’t really belong on the web, at least until now. I finally have some news to report, and along with that, I could really use your help to finally solve the mystery.

Here’s the story. Last January, I was contacted by someone named Mark Harmon from San Antonio, Texas who asked if I’d be interested in helping him find his birth mother. He gave me a bit of background information, and I said sure, I’d be willing to give it a whirl.

Mark was born October 2, 1964 in Miami, Florida. He has a younger brother, Wayne, who was born on the exact same date, two years later. Mark’s father was Wayne Keith Harmon, born May 10, 1920 in Chipley, Florida. Mark’s mother (according to his birth certificate) is Barbara Duane Clark, born June 24, 1942, somewhere in Florida (no city listed).

Sometime around May 1968, when Mark and his brother were approximately 3 and 1 respectively, there was some kind of falling-out between the boys’ parents. The family was living in Fort Lauderdale at the time, and rumor has it that Mark’s mother, Barbara, was caught having an affair. After some kind of physical altercation between Mark’s father and “the boyfriend,” Barbara Duane Clark left and was never heard from again.

Mark’s father died in 1985 when he was just 20 years old. When Mark decided to start searching for his birth mother, he was told that the man having the affair with his mother may have been his uncle’s stepson. (The uncle was Pharis Stafford Harmon, Mark’s father’s younger brother.) Mark figured if we could find the stepson, maybe we could find his mother.

The Stepson
In 1951, Pharis was married to a woman named Elizabeth Smith Miley in St. John’s County, Florida (near Jacksonville/St. Augustine). We believe that the two people standing with Pharis in the following picture may be Elizabeth and her son:

Pharis Stafford Harmon

I did a ton of research trying to find any information about Elizabeth Smith Miley, but unfortunately, I kept hitting dead ends. All I know for sure is that Pharis was re-married on November 26, 1968 to a woman named Esther Crayton Kuhlmann. So, I’m not sure if Pharis and his first wife divorced, or if Elizabeth died. I also don’t know for sure if “the stepson” belonged to Elizabeth or Esther. My hunch is that the child in the above black and white photo is Elizabeth and her son because most photos were in color by 1968.

A Possible Sibling
Mark also had reason to believe that he may have an older sibling. According to his birth certificate, under “Previous deliveries to mother,” it said “Living: 1” and “Fetal deaths: 2.” He wondered what had happened to that older sibling since there had been no sign or mention of him/her while they were growing up in Miami.

Another Possible Sibling – Jason Hoffman
Several months ago, Mark ran a classified ad on CraigsList in Miami. He didn’t receive a reply at that time, but later, I found his ad on a different site, ListOwn.com (apparently that site had just “picked up” the ad from CraigsList).

Here is a copy of Mark’s ad, along with two replies:

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Looking for Barbara Duane Clark, My Mother

Sun, 04 Mar 2012 17:52:00 GMT
My name is Mark Louis Harmon and Im looking for my mother or any other lost relatives. I believe her maiden name was Barbara Duane Clark and she was born around 1942. My fathers name is Wayne Harmon and I have a brother named Keith. I had uncles named Bill, Pharis, and Neal. I was not quite three years old when I last saw my mother in 1967. I was born in 1964 and my brother in 1966. I believe my mother lives somewhere in the Broward County/Ft. Lauderdale area. All I know about my mother is a few stories and what is on my birth certificate. If anyone can help me get in touch with her or any of my other relatives, it would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Mark Harmon
Location: San Antonio, TX

Users Reply:
Written By 108.72.240.27
Wed, 23 May 2012 07:03:13 GMT
Just wanted to let you know that I know of another guy named Jason who was adopted when he was 11. He’s about 40 now. He’s been trying to find his mother as well by the name of Barbara Duane Clark. He had a different and older father. If you’d like, I’ll get his name/info and pass along to you. His memories of his mother is that he was dropped off at a police station in Detroit. Apparently he originally is from Florida.

Written By 99.166.96.251
Sat, 26 May 2012 07:10:46 GMT
Mark, I’m also looking for Barbara Duane Clark, My name is Jason Hoffman (former name, Jason Charles Williams) I had a different father, Charles A Williams, but I was born in 1969 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. My mother was Barbara Duane Clark, born in 1942.

——

As you can imagine, this was huge news! Mark and I realized if we could find Jason Hoffman, we might be able to get more clues to the story. Unfortunately, Mark never received Jason’s reply, and by the time I found the listing on ListOwn, the CraigsList post had already expired. With no contact information in the reply, I was kind of stumped. I tried looking for any “Jason Hoffmans” or “Charles A. Williams” living in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, but came up short. I tried calling a few random “Jason Hoffmans” that seemed to be about the right age, but no luck.

Another brick wall.

Then, something miraculous happened. A breakthrough. As I was writing this blog post a few weeks ago, I noticed a clue I hadn’t noticed before. There it was, in plain sight, and that little clue helped me find the real Jason Hoffman and reunite him with a half-brother he never knew he had. Yay! Success!

So… can you figure out what the clue was?

P.S. There’s much more to this story which I will continue to share in my next few blog posts. In case you’re wondering, I’m still trying to find Barbara Duane Clark, and with Mark and Jason’s permission, I’m publishing their story here on JoyTheCurious.com to help publicize the search. Our hope is that someone somewhere will be able to provide us with the clues we need to find Mark and Jason’s mother. If you have any information to share, please leave a comment, or email me directly at joy(at)joybaker.com.

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