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Widow Battles Mo. School for $5.7M

September 30, 1999

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) _ An 89-year-old widow who said her husband made her buy day-old bread as he secretly saved $5.7 million is fighting to keep some of the money from going to the University of Missouri.

Olive Deal, who lives in a nursing home here, said she was unaware her husband, John, had amassed a fortune until he fell ill in 1997.

Deal, who died in September 1998, established four trusts at the universities of Missouri and Kansas. Three, totaling $2.3 million, cannot be revoked. However, Mrs. Deal wants at least one-third of a $3.4 million trust at the University of Missouri.

A South Carolina Family Court judge awarded Mrs. Deal $2.5 million last year. The school, contending she is being used by family members who will inherit her estate, questions whether it must adhere to South Carolina court orders and has refused to alter the trust, according to court records cited by The Greenville News on Wednesday.

``My fear is that you have a university that is an arm of the state of Missouri hiding behind the protections of the state of Missouri and defrauding this little old lady in South Carolina,″ said Mrs. Deal’s lawyer, Ned Nicholson.

The Deals lived frugally during a 50-year marriage and survived on Social Security checks after retiring, he said.

Deal was an entomologist for the State Department who spent most of his career in China. He was an alumnus of Kansas. Missouri officials do not know why he established a trust for their school.

The trusts were discovered after a South Carolina judge appointed Deal’s nephew to oversee Deal’s estate during his illness.

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