By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Despite her misgivings, Gloria says she started to see positive changes in her daughter: "Her whole personality changed after she met Mr. Eddie. She's a completely different girl. She became completely responsible. She told me, 'I really love him, ma,' and she was going to get divorced anyway. There's reasons to marry other than sex, and I don't mean for money. This girl needs a companion. If he happens to be 99, well, who's to say?"
On October 19--two days before Ed and Lorraine set sail--he signed the paperwork to revoke his trust agreement. Lorraine still was on Sun City Home Care's payroll, earning about $100 a day while she was gone for full-time home care. (The agency has billed Ed about $13,000 for services rendered by their employee, Lorraine, over a four-month period. So far, he's refused to pay.)
On October 21, the pair boarded the Royal Viking Sun, one of the Cunard Lines' prized luxury vessels. For Ed, it was a joyous occasion. For Lorraine, it was the opportunity of a lifetime.
The luxury vessel's recent 59-day round-South America voyage was enlivened by the presence of a pair whose story could well have been the basis for an episode of the old TV series, Love Boat, at the other end of the booming world-cruise market. They were Lorraine DeJongh and Edwin [sic] Gamble, from Star [sic] City, Arizona. . . . The couple soon established themselves as fun characters on the cruise, with Ms. DeJongh wheeling her fiance around the decks and in the lounges and casino.
--from a December travel article titled "Love on the Ocean Wave--
For a 99-Year-Old Sailor"
The handsome invitations aboard the Royal Viking Sun announced: "Commander Edward B. Gamble (U.S. Navy ret.) and Lorraine L. DeJongh cordially invite [name] to celebrate Edward's 99th birthday and the ceremony to pledge their vows of loyalty and love prior to their official marriage."
Though Ed Gamble says the ceremony was concocted "just for the novelty of it because Lorraine was still working on her divorce," it was more than that. They had become a couple, and a real marriage back in the States loomed.
Still, Gloria DeJongh says, Lorraine had her doubts.
"When Lorraine came back from her trip, she wondered if she should be marrying Mr. Eddie," Gloria says. "I think she really loves the guy, but she didn't know if it was the right thing to do. But she knew he would be devastated if she backed out."
Lorraine's divorce became final December 22, the same day, coincidentally, that a Superior Court judge sentenced her to probation on the disorderly conduct rap.
Ed wanted to get married before the end of the year--"Good for tax reasons," he grunts--and the couple needed a car. He says he wanted to buy a red Cadillac, just as he once had for Alice Anne, but Lorraine convinced him it was more practical to buy a van with a wheelchair lift. The two shopped, and, after Ed did most of the negotiating with a dealer, he wrote a $4,000 check as a down payment on a used van.
Later, Ed says, he realized he should have put the down payment on his VISA credit card to accumulate bonus "points" for his cruises. The dealer cut him a check for $4,000. Lorraine was in the process of depositing it on January 6 when she nearly collided with investigators from the County Attorney's Office.
This was the supposed "$40,000 withdrawal" that Paul Blunt referred to in court papers. Bill FitzGerald, a spokesman for the County Attorney's Office says Blunt got it wrong, that the investigators never told Blunt it was a $40,000 withdrawal.
According to the investigators' report: "Investigator [Frank] Gary glanced at what paperwork [Lorraine DeJongh] had in front of her and . . . obtained a quick glance at what looked like a bank slip that was completed in the amount of either $4,000 or $40,000."
"Au contraire," counters Blunt. "An investigator specifically told me he had seen a bank withdrawal totaling $40,000--his very words. When he'd confronted her [Lorraine] about it, she referred them to her lawyer and walked away from him. That's a big red flag. You put it all together, we saw no reason not to go for protective proceedings on a legal argument that Lorraine was unduly influencing Ed."
Blunt backed off his "undue influence" argument after Ed Gamble acquitted himself so well during the hearing before Commissioner Gary Donahoe.
On January 19, Donahoe dismissed the petition for a temporary guardianship and conservatorship for Ed.
Ed Gamble himself was forced to pay Blunt's fees, which still has him steaming. Gary Gamble had paid Blunt a $50,000 retainer fee with Ed's money. Blunt will end up collecting about $12,500, and must return the rest to the trust.
The criminal case, if there ever was one, against Lorraine Gamble, also went nowhere. Investigators from the County Attorney's Office submitted their final report on the matter a few weeks ago. It says in part:
". . . Our office has no evidence to refute the findings of the two psychological evaluations and that of the witnesses, including Judge Tolby, who felt Gamble was aware of his marriage to DeJongh. . . . The [Wells Fargo Bank] records do not reflect any outrageous or fraudulent behavior."