Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on September 16, 1995 · Page 26
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 26

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Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Saturday, September 16, 1995
Page:
Page 26
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Saturday, September 16, 1995 The Arizona Republic A27 Arrest brings back riiemories of lost, klued friehdship By Gail Tabor Stafflflriter Jeanne Tovrea went to bed early on her Jjjst night. She wanted to get an earlystart next morning to visit her new love in Las Vegas. While a nearly full moon cast the desert in silver around her home in Lincrjjn Hills, someone fired five gunshots into her head in the early minutes of April 1, 1988. Friends of Jeanne Tovrea despaired of flje case ever being solved. It seemgd too well-planned and too professionally executed for 'the police to ever pick up a trail. Now that an arrest has been made, Ann',.obb and other friends say, "Oh, thank God." "That would be so wonderful (if they've arrested someone)," said an-othegriend, Georgia Greene. " was so awful to think that someone could get away with something-like that. "Lhope they can prove it." BuJ alng with hope, the news resurrects painful memories of a close friend and how much she has been missedi To Jeanne's friends, she was one "in a million, generous and compassionate, loyal beyond compare. Many of those friends knew that the small-town girl from Siloam Spring!, Ark., had led a tough life beforejhe met Ed Tovrea, a member of oneof Arizona's most prominent and wealthy cattle families. As'Jean Gunter, the eldest of three childfqn, she and her siblings were moved- from Arkansas to California and then to Redmond, Ore., while her fathen looked for work. She graduated from ', high school in Redmond in 1 950, J the same year she married a lumber-mill worker. Her only child, Deborah, was born in 1951. Affer leaving her husband, she took Debofah and moved back to Siloam Springs with her parents. A succession of jobs followed: secretary in Tulsa and in Dallas, beautician in Fayette-ville, Ark., and, finally, hairdresser in Phoerjix. At night, she was a cocktail waitress at the Safari Hotel in Scottsdale. In the late 1960s, Jean who had by this time become Jeanne decide a career in real-estate sales would 'provide a better living than slinging drinks. She went to school by " day, eventually earning her license, and then worked with Ed Post Realty. Friends from that time said Jeanne called herself a 1 "little Arkansas hillbilly" and never put on airs. Even after she married Ed Tovrea, Jeanne joked about her waitressing days. The marriage was happy and friends described their life as quiet and unassuming. But Jeanne's husband suffered from emphysema and for the last two years of his life was an invalid. His wife nursed him 24 hours a day until his death in 1983. The only problems during their marriage, reportedly, came from Ed's three children. They were, by all reports, resentful of Jeanne. Problems with the children Priscilla Holdcraft, Georga Tovrea, and Ed Tovrea Jr. continued long after his death, according to a close friend of Jeanne. One big dispute, over the disposition of Ed's ashes, took place at the mortuary. Friends also said Jeanne didn't have any idea how wealthy her husband was until he died and she inherited almost everything. "I could never spend all this money, but I'm going to have a good time with it," she reportedly said. And she did. Cosmetic surgery transformed her, as did new clothing and jewelry. She traveled, inviting along friends and relatives. In her new world, she kept in touch with the people who meant the most to her in her old one. A few months before her death, Jeanne ran into an old friend: Eddy Akridge of Midland, Texas, a top rodeo cowboy in the mid-1950s whom she hadn't seen in 30 years. They started renewing old times and memories. They also fell in love. Despite Akridge's all too visible wife, Jeanne told friends they were planning marriage. Invitations had been mailed for a gala Western-theme party April 15 at Jeanne's home north of Lincoln Drive and 36th Street. Many speculated that the couple intended to announce their engagement. On the day before she was to leave for Las Vegas, Jeanne had dinner with friends and went home early, checking through the security gate about 7 p.m. The guard told police that no other car had driven in or asked to be admitted to see Jeanne Tovrea. FIT rS EQGtPKZOT Featuring the world class line of: TRUE TREADMILLS Save $200 to $500 on our entire line of motorized treadmills! 2720 East Bell Rd. 482-1808 I :1 writ ,-- ri" 1 Mr K r fl-T -II HmSSI ill 1 i .... j ii si : e i mii i i Bag i f . " - " -. f!TO QMMffl lit- 9' if ."!! 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