Korean War vet loses home of 32 years after girlfriend's reverse mortgage

A Korean war vet had a lot of help from his Dayton, Minn. community who ensured he wouldn't become homeless.

After 32 years of living on the banks of the Mississippi, Jim Hamann is packing up a lifetime of memories.

"I'm stressed out. I'm stressed with the way the courts operate. Don't give a guy a chance to do what we are supposed to do," he said.

Hamann started seeing his girlfriend, Delores Bistodeau, in the mid-1980s and moved into the home she shared with her late husband a few years later, but the pair, who'd both been married to other people before, never married each other.

"We loved each other just like everybody else," he said. "There is common law marriage, but Minnesota doesn't recognize that, but we still had it common anyway."

After Bistodeau developed dementia and Alzheimer's, Hamann discovered she had taken out a reverse mortgage on her home, and when she went to stay in a nursing home 7 months ago, Hamann realized the bank actually owns the house and he has no legal claim on the place they shared for 32 years.

"I'm sure this isn't what Delores thought she was getting into when she signed that agreement, but it is a pretty unfortunate outcome," Dayton, Minn. Mayor Tim Mcneil said.

Before the Korean War veteran ended up on the street, former Marine, Greg Kahl, offered Hamann a place to live until he gets into the veterans' home, where he is on the waiting list.

"He's been in this house 32 years done maintenance on it. I think it's wrong. Just because they weren't married, doesn't mean he can't stay," Kahl said.

For now, Hamann is getting ready to begin a new chapter in his life, but he says it's a shame he'll have to close the book on the place he called home for so many years.

"I think it's best just to move on and start a new life," he said.

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in – includes advertiser stories