MARRYING INTO ELDER ABUSE
By Ellen McKissock, Esq.*
Senator Ralph Dills (1910-2002) served 43 years in the Assembly and Senate, making him the longest standing lawmaker in California history. Dills also sat as a judge for 17 years. Dills championed legislation to protect elders during his years of service. Sadly, Dills became a victim of the abuse he sought to curtail.
Dills married Elizabeth Ging Lee in 1970. When Elizabeth died in 2000, Dills lost his soul mate. Dills’ stepdaughter, Wendi, lived with the couple before her mother’s death and acted as caregiver to Dills (who then suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease). Shortly after her mother’s death, Wendi began wearing her mother’s clothes and perfume. She then divorced her own financially troubled husband, took her stepfather to Reno and married him. The marriage was kept a secret until one day, when Dills was in the hospital, Dills’ sons asked him why he was giving so much money to Wendi. Dills responded, "I think she’s my wife." The Dills’ estate plan had already provided for Wendi. Why did Wendi marry Dills?