From Norma's daughter, Elizabeth 12/11/2019:
"Not sure why Aunt Dorothy died so young — as I recall it was cancer, she was a heavy smoker so maybe lung cancer but, again, not sure. According to my mom, Aunt Dorothy “married & buried 3 husbands.” All of them were financially well off. Not only did she smoke in public, she was the 1st woman to independently drive a car in her town. Aunt Dorothy adopted my mom. When she died, my mom was in a boarding high school (Catholic) & completed her schooling there. There was an uncle & a lawyer who oversaw Aunt Dorothy’s estate. My mom had enough money to attend college, although she never graduated. She started at St Kate’s but eventually transferred to Gonzaga. She attended college for 4 years, but she took a year off to help Grandma and another year she taught on a provisional certificate in Montana. Turned out that by this time Aunt Dorothy’s estate was depleted because the Uncle & lawyer had run thru the funds & sold off the assets, including property. Mom managed to get back to the house & retrieve some of the monogrammed items and her clothes. Was only short a few credits from graduating when she met my dad, got pregnant, married. Guess Aunt Gertrude had a very difficult time financially after Aunt Dorothy passed. My mom had some letters from Aunt Gertrude discussing how she struggled to make it thru the month. Don’t know anything about Aunt Dorothy’s husbands — my mom did not like Aunt Dorothy &, as a result, rarely disclosed anything about her."
From Sue Otness: (Norma's niece) 2/21/2021:
After researching Norma's first husband, Emile Henri Oppenheim, I see that he died after Aunt Dorothy in California. I didn't find any divorce papers filed. There is also no record of Dorothy and Herbert Ripley marrying. In fact, there was a court case in which the family of Herbert Ripley contested his will in order to exclude Dorothy. The court ruled in Dorothy's favor and she was allowed to collect his estate, even though they were never married. Herbert Ripley died the same year as Dorothy's brother, Peter Loren Manaige. So, Norma was given the name Ripley but Dorothy wasn't married to Ripley and he died about the same time that she adopted Norma.
I think it was Aunt Gertrude, Dorothy's sister who "married and buried three husbands."
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