Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Brothers' 92 years end the lifelong way: as twins (die on same day)
Buffalo News ^ | June 3, 2011 | Robert J. McCarthy

Posted on 06/04/2011 6:13:28 AM PDT by NYer


Twin brothers Adrian, left, and Julian Riester answered God's call in the 1940s: the Franciscans instead of Army.

From the moment of their birth in Buffalo 92 years ago, twin brothers Julian and Adrian Riester rarely left each other's side.

They played together, went to school together, as young men traveled cross-country together -- and, in their 20s, joined the Franciscan order together.

And on Wednesday, after 65 years as identical twins wearing the identical brown robes of the Franciscans -- mostly at St. Bonaventure University -- Brother Julian Riester and Brother Adrian Riester died together at St. Anthony Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla. Julian died Wednesday morning, followed by Adrian in the evening.

Those who knew the Riesters best say they are not surprised at all.

"If ever there is a confirmation that God favored them, this is it," said their cousin and close friend Michael Riester of Buffalo. "They weren't even separated for 12 hours."

The biological brothers were also religious brothers, committed to the monastic life of Franciscan friars, not as priests but in roles as physical laborers.

During two stints at St. Bonaventure, from 1951 to 1956 and from 1973 to 2009, "the twins" were a common sight strolling in lockstep across campus -- or, in later years after a few "incidents" resulted in loss of their driver's licenses, on identical bicycles wearing identical helmets.

They became known as accomplished artisans who expressed their talents as gardeners and woodworkers, turning out tables and cabinets from their workshop in the garage of St. Bonaventure's Franciscan Friary.

Yvonne Peace, former secretary to the university's Franciscan community, remembers them as handymen and "fixers" who repaired all sorts of items brought to them by many on campus.

"They were always busy," she said.

Brother Julian, whose given name was Jerome, and Brother Adrian, whose given name was Irving, were part of a family of seven children born to Dr. Julian Riester and his wife, Clara. Their father was a prominent obstetrician who as a medical student observed surgery on President William McKinley after he was fatally shot in Buffalo in 1901, according to Michael Riester, who is the historian of St. Louis Catholic Church.

The attended St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute in Buffalo (where they had a reputation for fooling teachers by their identical looks) and then a radio technology school in Los Angeles before applying to the Franciscans' Holy Name Province.

Toward the end of World War II, after mutually pledging to reply to whichever came first -- an acceptance from the Franciscans or an expected induction notice from the Army -- the morning mail brought an invitation to join the friars, and the afternoon mail "greetings" from the draft board.

God's call, they told interviewers in later years, took priority.

They were separated only twice, once from 1946 to 1951 when Brother Adrian was a sacristan at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Manhattan and Brother Julian was general manager of St. Anthony Shrine in Boston. Later they were not far apart in the 1950s when Brother Julian was assigned to St. Patrick's Parish in Buffalo and Brother Adrian to Bishop Timon High School in South Buffalo. But from 1956 on, the Riester brothers were together.

Michael Riester remembers them as family men who used the money given them by friends to travel to Buffalo on their day off to take their mother -- who lived to 103 -- to dinner at fine restaurants such as Salvatore's Italian Gardens or Romanello's. "They liked a good time," he said.

Indeed, in 2003 Brother Julian told the Bona Venture, the university's student newspaper, that they confounded the friars' seniority system by often claiming they "walked in the door together" and by never divulging which twin was born first.

"We don't tell," Brother Adrian told the newspaper. "We like to keep them guessing."

Michael Riester said his cousins will be remembered as "exemplary men and holy men," who lived their lives in a truly Franciscan spirit. When word came earlier this week that both were seriously ill in the Franciscans' retirement home in St. Petersburg, where they had lived for the last two years, Michael Riester and many in the St. Bonaventure community said they almost expected that the pair would leave together.

Now they will be buried together Monday in Olean.

"They had this intimate bond, in which neither was selfish at all," Michael Riester said. "And because they were so in tune to God and to each other, it's not surprising at all."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; US: Florida; US: New York
KEYWORDS: catholic; franciscan; twins

1 posted on 06/04/2011 6:13:36 AM PDT by NYer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...
Catholic Ping
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list

 

2 posted on 06/04/2011 6:14:25 AM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

They looked pretty good for 92 apiece.


3 posted on 06/04/2011 6:23:11 AM PDT by 668 - Neighbor of the Beast (Please sir...permission to protest?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

telomeres?


4 posted on 06/04/2011 6:23:57 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (They think "just because she's right on every damn issue doesn't give her enough credibility.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer
Being an identical twin myself I find these stories very interesting
5 posted on 06/04/2011 6:27:10 AM PDT by Popman (Obama. First Marxist to turn a five year Marxist plan into a 4 year administration.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

God Bless them!!


6 posted on 06/04/2011 6:28:42 AM PDT by johngrace (God so loved the world so he gave his only son! Praise Jesus and Hail Mary!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NonValueAdded

I believe you are onto the mystery Scooby. Telomeres are a fascinating subject to me. This is a picture perfect study opportunity.


7 posted on 06/04/2011 6:30:45 AM PDT by Buckeye Battle Cry (Terrorism is nothing more than Kinetic Islam)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: NYer
My dad and his twin brother died on the same day....just 31 years apart! They joined the Army Air Corps together and daddy went on to pilot B-17s and my uncle flew B-24s :) My uncle died of kidney cancer and some 15 years later my dad survived cancer by having a kidney removed.

It was really something when we put the dates together.

8 posted on 06/04/2011 6:35:58 AM PDT by sweet_diane (Adoption, the beautiful choice!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer
My dad and his twin brother died on the same day....just 31 years apart! They joined the Army Air Corps together and daddy went on to pilot B-17s and my uncle flew B-24s :) My uncle died of kidney cancer and some 15 years later my dad survived cancer by having a kidney removed.

It was really something when we put the dates together.

9 posted on 06/04/2011 6:36:10 AM PDT by sweet_diane (Adoption, the beautiful choice!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NonValueAdded
telomeres?

I've seen many stories of loved ones dying on the same day since the Internet began. Usually it's a husband and wife. I remember one young Florida couple. The man died of electrocution and the wife died from an asthma attack. Neither knew of the other's death.

10 posted on 06/04/2011 6:38:27 AM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Moonman62

My Grandmother and Grandfather died a month apart.


11 posted on 06/04/2011 6:41:29 AM PDT by angcat (DEAR GOD PLEASE SAVE US!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Wonderful story. God bless them.


12 posted on 06/04/2011 6:48:41 AM PDT by onyx (If you truly support Sarah Palin and want to be on her busy ping list, let me know!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NonValueAdded

Stress free life??


13 posted on 06/04/2011 6:52:11 AM PDT by Gadsden1st
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: NYer
Most excellent story, Lifted my morning.
14 posted on 06/04/2011 6:57:55 AM PDT by celmak
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Pretty amazing story.


15 posted on 06/04/2011 6:59:30 AM PDT by Ditter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Moonman62
An old farmer acquaintance died at home some years ago;his wife called for the life squad and then died of a heart attack .
16 posted on 06/04/2011 7:13:01 AM PDT by hoosierham (Waddaya mean Freedom isn't free ?;will you take a credit card?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: hoosierham
That sure happens a lot. It seems worse when the wife goes first.

A couple of years ago, I turned on Rush, and heard a vaguely familiar voice. It took a long time before I realized, it was my hero, Walter Williams! This was his first time on after his wife died, and he sounded like a little, old man. Same thing with Liddy. And Paul McCartney went from looking about 30 to an old man right after his wife died.

When you get my age, you think about this stuff ... :(

17 posted on 06/04/2011 7:19:53 AM PDT by Forgotten Amendments (I'd rather be Plaxico Burress than Sean Taylor)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: hoosierham

My grandpa died at 80, after 57 years of marriage. My grandma sold the farm, moved to town, bought a little scooter and started running around with the other old ladies, wearing pants and playing cards and God only knows what other debauchery. She had a grand old time for about 15 years.... I guess I’m on the wrong thread. ;^)


18 posted on 06/04/2011 7:20:26 AM PDT by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Popman

Me too. I have a twin sister, I am a boy and it never ceases to amaze me how many people ask me when I tell them I have a twin sister they ask are you identical.


19 posted on 06/04/2011 7:22:10 AM PDT by al baby (Hi Mom!!! I know i was kidding)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: A_perfect_lady
Perhaps some people become so inter-dependent that life without the other holds no attraction?

I'm pretty sure it is the rarity of these twinned deaths that makes it news.

20 posted on 06/04/2011 7:23:32 AM PDT by hoosierham (Waddaya mean Freedom isn't free ?;will you take a credit card?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: al baby
I have a screensaver picture of my twin brother on my PC at work. People all the time ask me why I have a picture of myself on my PC......after all, it is sort of creepy if you think about it to have a picture of yourself on the PC

LOL....I tell them it's my twin brother and they all go .....No Way!!!

21 posted on 06/04/2011 7:29:22 AM PDT by Popman (Obama. First Marxist to turn a five year Marxist plan into a 4 year administration.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: A_perfect_lady
LOL - I think that's a wonderful story. I liked the one about the twin Brothers, but yours really put the smile on my face. Have a kitteh:


22 posted on 06/04/2011 7:39:04 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Oh most loving Father, preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: twin1

A twin ping and a Catholic ping all in one:)


23 posted on 06/04/2011 7:50:12 AM PDT by twin2
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: al baby
the next time when someone asks if you and and your sister are identical tell them i know who you voted for
24 posted on 06/04/2011 8:18:59 AM PDT by mt tom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Not selfish? But that’s not healthy according to the lame brained psychologists “practicing” today. They sound like wonderful people who worked to become the men God created them to be, unlike so many “enlightened” people in the civilian world.


25 posted on 06/04/2011 9:00:49 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sweet_diane

Wow! What an amazing witness to the life of two brothers. As others have pointed out, there is still much uncharted territory in the relationship of identical twins. Thanks for the post and ping.


26 posted on 06/04/2011 9:13:54 AM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: NYer

God Bless these good men! I have friends who graduated from St. Bonaventure in the mid 70s. I’ll have to ask them if they knew of these brothers.


27 posted on 06/04/2011 9:32:02 AM PDT by SuziQ
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer
...the morning mail brought an invitation to join the friars, and the afternoon mail "greetings" from the draft board...

I remember twice a day mail delivery, only one on Saturday. We lived next door to the Postmaster for our little village. Postcards were a penny and first class was three cents.

Regards,
GtG

28 posted on 06/04/2011 10:00:34 AM PDT by Gandalf_The_Gray (I live in my own little world, I like it 'cuz they know me here.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Popman
Being an identical twin myself I find these stories very interesting

I've always wondered if "identical twins" were mirror images of each other. One right handed, one left. Internal organ arrangement (heart, digestive tract, &c.) can also be right or left handed, with the heart being left of the chest center-line being most common. Or do twins have the identical "handedness"?

I've seen pictures of twins married to twins with the ladies waving to the camera in which they used opposite hands and that always caused me to wonder.

Regards,
GtG

29 posted on 06/04/2011 10:14:25 AM PDT by Gandalf_The_Gray (I live in my own little world, I like it 'cuz they know me here.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Gandalf_The_Gray
My brother and I are considered mirror twins. I'm right handed, he's left handed, I have left branching in my heart. (not sure of the medical term) where the veins are on the opposite side where they are normally. Not sure about our internal organs

I tend to think of "mirrored" twins as I'm the good looking one, I'm the smart one, and he's the opposite LOL

30 posted on 06/04/2011 2:32:25 PM PDT by Popman (Obama. First Marxist to turn a five year Marxist plan into a 4 year administration.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick
Have a kitteh: *Like*
31 posted on 06/04/2011 10:14:05 PM PDT by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Gandalf_The_Gray; Popman

My daughters are twins. Both are right-handed, but lots of mirror things. Their teeth ALWAYS came in as opposites, and often fell out as opposites as well. I’m thinking there were moles too that were opposites - or something.

They are “identical” - but their styles and interests are VERY different. They both are great kids though!


32 posted on 06/04/2011 10:27:28 PM PDT by 21twelve ( You can go from boom to bust, from dreams to a bowl of dust ... another lost generation.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: NYer

What a great story!


33 posted on 06/05/2011 3:51:44 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 21twelve
Thank you for the post and ping!

On Saturday, I enjoyed dinner at the home of a good friend who gave birth to two sets of identical twins. The first two were girls; the 2nd set were boys. Unfortunately, something went awry and one of the boys died in utero.

34 posted on 06/05/2011 4:26:23 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: NYer

How sad. The weird “connections” that twins have - I wonder if the boy ever feels like something is “missing”.


35 posted on 06/05/2011 4:50:13 PM PDT by 21twelve
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson