Yucaipa woman, 101, battling for home over handwritten deed

YUCAIPA – Lois Risse, 101, stands hunched over in her front yard, attacking weeds and dandelions with a hoe.

Then she bends at the waist, picks up the plants and places them in a cardboard box beside her metal walker. As she progresses west across the yard, she hooks the box with the garden tool and pulls it closer to her, straying farther and farther from her walker.

The only help she allows from her caregiver is emptying the contents of the box into a garbage bin, and bringing her walker over when it is time to go inside – into a house she no longer owns.

Risse, her neighbors and legal representatives say many people have taken advantage of the petite woman with bright blue eyes since the passing of her husband, William Risse, on Sept. 18, 1982.

“It’s hard to believe there are such thieves,” Risse said.

In January 1983, four months after her husband died, Risse sold the couple’s ranch-style home in southeast Yucaipa via a handwritten deed. Cursive writing chronicles the sale: $60,000 for the home and $4,500 for its contents to a family friend, Glenn Neff.

Two years later, in January 1985, another paragraph was added to the deed. It said Neff paid in full with ownership to be recorded upon Risse’s death. It was signed again by Risse and Neff on Jan. 1, 1985, then notarized on March 29, 1985.

Neither party can produce receipts of payment.

“He never paid me a dime,” Risse said Thursday while sitting on a backless chair inside the home.

Neff had been friends with William and Lois Risse since the 1960s. Now 72, he lives nearly 400 miles from Risse in Walker, southeast of Lake Tahoe.

Risse gave him two years to pay off the house, he said in a phone interview.

“When I bought the house from Lois, I would pay her cash,” Neff said. “She kept track of everything. I just sold a piece of property so I could have paid her (in full). I paid her something each month until it was paid off in two years.”

He also said he orally agreed to let Risse remain in the Yucaipa home until her death, as long as she paid the taxes, utilities and insurance.

“I told Lois – and it’s not on paper – but I told Lois she could live in that house as long as she wanted,” Neff said.

On Wednesday night, Neff said he still plans to continue to stick to that statement, even though he broke an agreement written in the deed not to record it until after her death.

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Yucaipa woman, 101, battling for home over handwritten deed

5 Responses to “Yucaipa woman, 101, battling for home over handwritten deed”

  1. Thelma Says:

    Sounds like a scam on the guy's part.

  2. Cathy Says:

    Oh my gosh, what spunk Louis Risse has. I pray for her strength.

  3. Sara Says:

    sick….sick…sick…when will this END!!!! when the boomers are all gone????

  4. B Inberg Says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    You would think that once you are 101, people could just let you alone to live in peace.

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