Columbia Heights, Minnesota
After Samuel was
diagnosed with cancer...
within a short time,
the couple owed almost
$30,000. For two people
living on Social Security,
and paying a mortgage, it
was becoming too much.
When Samuel was stricken with lung
cancer, Miriam, his wife of 41 years, not only had
to contend with watching her husband suffer,
but with the mounting credit card debt they were
incurring to pay his healthcare expenses.
Miriam, 77, was a retired nurse’s aid and Samuel drove a truck
most of his life. Before that, the couple briefly owned a resort
along Lake Minnewaska, located in the middle part of the state
near the small town of Glenwood, Minnesota.
“We owned about a dozen cabins on the lake,“ she says. “They
were built many years before by a prior owner. It was a lot of
work, but we enjoyed ourselves. After the tourists left, we’d rent
the cabins to a group of teachers, who would stay all through the
winter and then leave in April.“
After Samuel was diagnosed with cancer, it soon became
apparent they lacked adequate health insurance. Within a short
time, the couple owed almost $30,000. For two people living on
Social Security, and paying a mortgage, it was becoming too much.
“My husband had been ill for a long time and things were not
going well at all,“ she says.
A county social worker who was helping them find ways to
manage the health care costs recommended they consider a
reverse mortgage. They were referred to Dory Lidinsky of
Marketplace Home Mortgage.
The couple owns a two-story home in Columbia Heights, a
northern suburb of Minneapolis. A Polish flag and white eagle
are on the sign marking the border between Columbia Heights
and Minneapolis, visible when entering Columbia Heights on
Central Avenue, in celebration of the suburb’s early roots as a
The 100-year old home was appraised at $147,000. Samuel was
the younger of the two at age 68, which enabled them to receive
roughly $70,000 in reverse mortgage proceeds. The reverse mortgage
closed a few weeks before Christmas in 2003.
They took $40,259 and paid off the existing mortgage and then
a $29,500 lump sum to help pay off their credit card bills.
Samuel sadly passed away on March 10, 2006.
In August of 2007, Miriam called Dory to say that she had an
outstanding credit card bill with Sears, who agreed to take a
lesser amount if she could pay it off in a lump sum. Miriam
wondered if she could get more money out of the house. The
house was appraised at $175,000 and using her age of 75, plus
the increase in value, she was able to pay off the current
reverse mortgage and receive an additional $10,000 to retire her
Sears credit card. She also had borrowed some money from her
daughter and was anxious to pay that back.
In 2008, she sent Dory a Christmas card that said, in part:
It’s that time of year when I think of the kind people like
yourself. I’m doing well. I have my deck built in the back of
the house and a new front door. I also took your suggestion
& put my gateleg table on the end of the living room closest
to the kitchen. Worked well as I had all 6 of my kids over
last Easter for the first time in years. Take care & have a nice
holiday. Thanks to you I’m enjoying mine.