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Two sets of twins, 80 years later

By ZOË WATKINS - zwatkins@t-g.com
Posted 12/3/22

It’s a rarity to see twins and even more a rarity to have two sets in one family. But so is the case for the Fann Family.  

About 1.6 million twins are born each year worldwide and the …

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Two sets of twins, 80 years later

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It’s a rarity to see twins and even more a rarity to have two sets in one family. But so is the case for the Fann Family.  

About 1.6 million twins are born each year worldwide and the number of twin births has nearly doubled over the last 40 years, according to the journal Human Reproduction.  

Here in Shelbyville, Dorris and Morris Fann are twins. So are their younger brother and sister William “Bill” Fann and Wilma Haynes.  

Dorris and Morris are 86 years old, while Bill and Wilma are 79.  

They grew up in the Christiana area. Their father was a sharecropper who grew tobacco and hay. The Fann twins even remember their mother stripping tobacco. “She was a tough woman,” said Dorris. Because they were a sharecropping family, the family of eight had to move around year-to-year.  

Though not identical twins (the chances of having identical twins are pretty rare, at just 3 or 4 per 1,000 births), Dorris and Morris stayed close together, even sharing their wedding day. Both Dorris and Morris were married to their sweethearts on June 2, 1957, at a beautiful white house in Fairfield.  

Dorris and Morris were even drafted into the Army a week apart in the mid-1950s. Morris left after his service, but Dorris stayed on in the Tennessee Air National Guard for 30 years where he did mostly administrative work in addition to flying C130s.  

Dorris says the reason he joined the Air Force was because the Army met on Wednesdays, the day he would go to church. He joined the air national guard instead and never missed a day of church.  

It was important; church is where he met his wife of 65 years, Lavye, who passed away recently on Nov. 18 at the age of 83. Dorris and Lavye met at an ice cream supper at Wartrace Baptist Church, where they attended the rest of their married life.  

Of the two, Dorris said Morris is the more reserved one. Morris worked for Singer and eventually for a tax office in Murfreesboro where he retired several years ago.  

Dorris, on the other hand, “did a little bit of everything.”  

In addition to being in the Air National Guard, Dorris also worked in plumbing and electric, accounting, chicken farming, and even as a mailman at one point.  

Growing up around a bunch of brothers, Wilma said it made her head strong. “You have to be,” she said. So much so, she even sky-dived for her 79th birthday.  

But all the siblings still remain close even today. They visited each other not too long along at Celebration Way where Dorris was staying with his wife.  

And just like they’ve been over the decades, they still laugh and joke with one another, a testament to the connection twins have. 

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