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When Ginger Bass filed for divorce from her husband Frank in November 2007, she hoped he would not contest the dissolution. She offered to buy out his interest in their Lakeside home so both could move on. For months, Frank stayed in their home. It ­wasn’t until the following April that he left and roomed with a buddy, who, after three days, asked him to go. Frank moved into a cheap motel, but he said it was “killing” him. Soon he was back, pleading with Ginger not to divorce him. He broke down and cried like a baby. He said ­he’d change. He said he was depressed and ­couldn’t live without her. He told her he wanted to return to their first love, trapshooting, which had brought them into marriage eight years before. And he said he was sorry about the other women. He promised that phase was ­over.

But if there was one thing that stuck in ­Ginger’s craw, it was the women. She was so embarrassed by his cheating — and his roughing her up when she complained about it — that very few friends or family members knew. Into the first several months of 2008, while their divorce proceeded, Frank was still in the Lakeside house, forcing her to have sex with him and believing this would win her back. As often as he got his way, Ginger got hers, which was to fight him off and flee the ­house.

Friends and family of Ginger Bass, who was 51 in 2008, describe her as a talented and independent woman. (No family members I contacted agreed to be interviewed, though some of their comments have appeared in other publications; several friends of ­Ginger’s and ­Frank’s did speak to me but on condition of anonymity.) One friend said Ginger could “do anything.” For 20 years, she lived in Alaska with her first husband. They adopted three siblings from Bogotá, Colombia. Ginger was a truck driver in Alaska during the construction of the pipeline. Her father, Kenneth “Rusty” Wolbers, who owned a large trucking company in California, had taught her to drive an 18-wheeler. Later, she designed and built two log cabins and worked with stained glass in her own ­business.

In 1996, after a divorce, Ginger moved to San Diego, and she became a real estate broker. Ten years later she was managing the Re/Max Associates branch in La ­Mesa.

In her business-card photo, Ginger exudes the sanguine vitality of a woman in love with the outdoors. She has medium-length straight brown hair showing a few traces of gray, a Cheshire grin, and smoky eyes (the blue eyeliner was tattooed on). She had one tattoo on her thigh, a multicolored flair of flowers. Ginger, who was 5 feet 8 and weighed 160 pounds, was “very fit, worked out a lot,” said a friend. Another called her “beautiful-model ­material.”

Frank Bass, a year older than Ginger, was 6 feet 6 and about 185 pounds, with hazel eyes and brown hair. He was a machinist and handyman. A fellow machinist wrote on a website, “I used to work with Frank and he was a really nice guy. He was even tempered and always great to be around.” Frank was “a lot of fun,” said another pal. He shot a “mean horseshoe.” One friend recalled him as “a normal-looking guy, a typical machinist, really kind of quiet.” His personality, though, could be “dark and standoffish. Like a lot of machinists, he was a perfectionist.” Other buddies noted ­Frank’s “short fuse. We all knew Frank was a little off.” Everybody liked Frank, said another, but he ­wasn’t “very warm with ­people.”

From 1982 to 1998, Frank was married to a woman named Vanessa. They had two children, Frank Jr., who works locally in corrections, and Erica, a La Mesa real estate agent. The divorce, on grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” was uncontested. But according to friends, ­Frank’s threats forced Vanessa to flee. She gave Frank the house and the kids. Still, Frank ­didn’t like being left: on the day their divorce was final, he allegedly told her that he was “going to get her.” The woman disappeared for a couple of ­years.

In 1999, Frank met Ginger when he was buying a home in Lakeside at 14038 Cheryl Lee Court, a quarter mile from the I-8 exit at Lake Jennings Park Road. As his agent, she brokered the deal. They discovered a love for the outdoors, biking, hiking, and trapshooting. Taught by her father Rusty, an Amateur Trapshooting Association senior champion, Ginger was an expert shot. She got Frank interested in the sport, and soon the couple had matching 12-gauge shotguns. They married not long after they ­met.

“They seemed like a strange pair,” said a man who shot with them and with ­Ginger’s father. “Ginger was outgoing, a people person. Frank ­wasn’t. It struck me as funny that they even got together because they were kind of opposite personalities.” Another friend disagreed, saying that early on, “They were pretty much happy, pretty much taken with each other.” They looked like the “ideal couple. They were fairly young, attractive, successful in their careers. They both liked shooting, going to the desert.” And it was clear that ­Frank’s kids “loved Ginger and she liked ­them.”

Since his early 20s, Frank had worked at Chem-tronics, an aerospace company in El Cajon. One work pal said he was always “professional and took his work very seriously.” He rose to the position of floor supervisor. But then, in 2006, he was laid off. Rather than mope, Frank decided to take it easy for a year and not work. Eventually, he and Ginger started a home-refurbishing business that used her resources at Re/Max. Bass Homes and Estates specialized in fixing up foreclosures and selling them for ­profit.

Behind the business front, their marriage was deteriorating. As early as 2004, Frank was sneaking off with women, one, a floor supervisor at Chem-tronics. Sometime in 2007, while Frank was tending to foreclosed properties, he met a woman, a renter in a home he intended to flip, and began a new affair. ­What’s more, Frank was picked up by police while soliciting a prostitute on El Cajon ­Boulevard.

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aquarimary June 3, 2010 @ 10:23 a.m.

Wow- How sad and depressing. This really came at a time when I have been so longing to fall in love and live happily ever after, but now I don't know if I even belive that it's possible anymore.


elikas51 June 3, 2010 @ 11:17 p.m.

MOVE ON PEOPLE- take it from a first hand source much of this info is incorrect and the reporter contacted me for info and i denied, hence his lack of correct info as he took it from third party sources!! this is a domestic violence case which is beyond unfortunate, but it happens repeatedly around the county and this is where the story should be centered- in cases where they go on and on.. not something that happened once and two years ago where there was no mystery and this story hurts the true family over and over by printing mis-info years later!! focus your lives on yourselves and improving and current serious events!


Visduh June 4, 2010 @ 8:07 a.m.

While I can sympathize with elikas51 about this story being hurtful to the family members, stories will be told. Once again, it showed the empty promise of the restraining order, and the calloused attitude of law enforcement. But in a larger sense, it also shows how people marry strangers (Oh, they think they know the person, but often are clueless) and get into some truly terrifying situations.


Gail Powell June 4, 2010 @ 11:09 a.m.

What this story also shows is how you think you know someone and marry them. Sometimes people change. Or they are very moody. Such as what happened with Frank Bass. He, apparently was one of those "mean drunks." Not to mention a skirt-chaser too.

Falling in love and marrying another person is always a leap of faith. My own first marriage went south just like this one did.

In breaking up, I suffered the very same threats, physical abuse and fears as Ginger did. I would have advised her to head up north to her mother and try and get out of town. Make it difficult for the ex to find her and lay low for a while. I know this is hard to do when you have a job, friends, and family here but look at the alternative. She is dead now.

My heart goes out to the family but I hope some clueless women can get some knowledge that it is not always champagne and roses in a marriage. If you have the ill fortune to marry a man that you must tip toe on eggshells to live with-GET OUT NOW!


Robert Johnston June 4, 2010 @ 8:47 p.m.

Here's something to think about, folks: "MARRAIGE VOWS ARE NOT A SUICIDE PACT!"

I, too, had the misfortune of dealing with a spouse who, though outwardly loving and kind, turned out to be a borderline sociopath. Though I never was physically struck by her, the constant browbeating and verbal abuse were warning signs...ones I chose not to heed. After all, I was raised on the belief that "'till Death do us part" meant exactly that. You only left the marraige when you left this life.

I was lucky to get out when I did--yet the pain still scars me. However, better to be alive and "Monday-morning critique" your actions, than it is to die horribly at the hands of a person you thought loved you.

Women can be just as abusive as men--and the results are just as tragic. If you are in such a situation, find the courage and clear out, post-haste. Your possessions can be replaced, but your life, once taken, can never be returned!




Burwell June 5, 2010 @ 2:15 p.m.

Women should always avoid men who exhibit working class values like he had. Men who are interested in sports, guns, and drink regularly are losers, and women who involve themselves with such men are going to wind up being beaten, or worse. Working class men have a tendency to get drunk and beat their wives and children without mercy. Most are bi-polar, or they would not be working class. While it might be acceptable to have a single glass of alcohol at a wedding or other occasion, working class men insist on living their lives in a drunken stupor, sitting in front of the TV every night watching sports and guzzling beer. It also appears that Ginger may have craved tall men. Most tall men have an extreme propensity to violence, and women should realize that choosing men solely for their height is not wise. I would also be willing to bet Frank was a smoker.


Visduh June 6, 2010 @ 7:51 p.m.

Oh come on Burwell! You've just spewed the most condensed pack of stereotypes (well, some of those things are yours and yours alone) I've ever seen, and that's saying a bunch. If working class men are such an bunch of losers, why are we worse off now than a few decades ago when MOST men were working class? My own observation is that your stereotypes fit one end of the male spectrum, and that you miss a huge slice of humanity that is nothing at all like you describe. In my extended family, there are gun hobbyists who are about the least violent guys you could ever meet. They don't drink much, have no history of spousal or child abuse, and are working class, but highly skilled.

It's a good thing for you that these comments are anonymous. I can think of a few working class WOMEN who would be in front of your house screaming for your blood, based on those comments. Notice I said women, not men. They know that social class has little to do with alcohol or drug abuse, violent behavior, and unstable home lives.


Burwell June 6, 2010 @ 10:01 p.m.

If working class men are such an bunch of losers, why are we worse off now than a few decades ago when MOST men were working class?

Until recently, working class violence directed against women and children was largely ignored by the police, primarily because most male police officers also beat up their wives and children and thought nothing of it. Drunkeness and domestic violence is so widespread among police officers that Congress passed a law that forbade officers convicted of spousal abuse from carrying firearms, which means convicted officers lose their jobs. This is as it should be. Police officers are now required to arrest working class men who brutalize their families, and in many states an officer who fails to make such an arrest can be charged with a felony. I don't know that we are worse off, its just that working class violence in the past was largely unreported.


charity4all June 6, 2010 @ 10:01 p.m.

I'm contacting the editor as this is absolutely so wrong on so many levels. To post these sorts of details is so painful for us to see! I certainly hope this is yanked before her mother sees this! What sort of animal would stoop to hurting us this way???? You are not a reporter you are a sensation seeker of the worst kind. Shame on you!


David Dodd June 6, 2010 @ 10:42 p.m.

Burwell, that is the biggest bunch of crap I've ever seen you write in the comments section of the Reader. It is completely insulting, to me, my family, and the majority of Americans that have made it possible for you to live your miserable white-collar retired life.

I'm 6' 2", and I'm guessing you're quite small. Even at 50, if the world suddenly goes to hell in a handbasket, you're going to have to rely on tall people like me (who spent many early years of my life working in foundries) to track down your food and build you shelter. Didn't you learn anthropology in college?



Burwell June 7, 2010 @ 12:14 a.m.

Burwell, that is the biggest bunch of crap I've ever seen you write in the comments section of the Reader. It is completely insulting, to me, my family, and the majority of Americans that have made it possible for you to live your miserable white-collar retired life.


I was not directing my comments to you, refriedgringo. I am sure you are an honorable man who lives an honorable life. I know that you are a hard worker from your previous postings. I said most tall men have violent tendencies, not all. I am sure that you are the exception to the rule.


David Dodd June 7, 2010 @ 3:04 a.m.

Burwell, I once worked for a company in Los Angeles, ethnicity omitted on purpose, because who knows if that had anything to do with it? Anyway, it was a contract job, I ran their warehouse for a summer until I shipped off elsewhere. The guy I reported to, I liked him, nice guy. We got on well, he appreciated my hard work and we thrived that summer, financially. One day we had a problem with one of the employees.

"I can tell by the way that guy looks, he's no good," he said.

And, of course, as his employee I said nothing. But. I know better. And, my friend, so do you. People are just people, they don't pick how they appear.


Jay Allen Sanford June 7, 2010 @ 5:25 p.m.

Much nonsense being spouted here amongst the comments, but I would like to second one opinion - you can indeed tell a lot about a person simply by how they look. Certain types of clothing, hair styles, and even body language can reveal a helluva lot about that person --- you see one guy wearing a cowboy hat, another wearing a hemp toque, and a third wearing a silk lined fedora, it's pretty safe to bet which one you're more likely to find at concerts featuring Travis Tritt, Ziggy Marley, and Leonard Cohen.

Sure, there are exceptions, but you get what I mean - we wear who we are in countless ways.

Even ignoring outward "signs" that people drape over themselves, someone's face can be even more revealing - as I've been quoted saying before, by the time we reach the age of forty, almost everyone pretty much has exactly the face they deserve.


David Dodd June 7, 2010 @ 5:55 p.m.

Respectfully disagree Jay, on many levels. I mean, sure, you can tell a lot about a person by how they talk and how they act, but to say that based on how they dress or what they do for a living one can make assumptions, isn't accurate much of the time.

Here's a picture of one man that comes to mind:

I leave you to your impressions of anything, from what he does for a living, what he has done for a living, etc., and invite you to offer an opinion.


Grasca June 7, 2010 @ 6:07 p.m.

Brian Bilbray can tell if someone is illegal by their clothing.


Jay Allen Sanford June 7, 2010 @ 6:17 p.m.

My POV is that you can tell a lot by looking at a PERSON, not a photograph ---

Sure, not all outward signs are stereotypically accurate. Because I haven't had a haircut since Led Zep were still together, people frequently assume I'm some kind of hippie. And yet I can't stand being around (most) hippies, nor do I concur with (most) hippie "philosophies," and I detest (most) of the music (and recreational drugs!) that (most) hippies tend to champion -- see "Why I Don't Like Hippies" at http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/autobiography-channel/2010/mar/03/why-i-dont-like-hippies

I don't cut my hair simply because I like it, and I don't HAVE to cut it. No other statement intended - sometimes, it's just fun to be the exception to the rule. However, what you CAN tell about me by looking at my hair is that I'm not likely in the military or running a bank, so something about me IS still being indicated by my hair...just not something stereotypical like "he's a hippie."


David Dodd June 7, 2010 @ 6:36 p.m.

Well, I'll attempt to make my point anyway, long-haired hippie and all ;)

The man in the photograph is named James Anthony Abbott. He was born in Flint, Michigan in 1967 (same city my mother was born in!), and attended Flint Central High School where he excelled in baseball and football playing the positions of pitcher and quarterback, respectively. Out of high school, he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays but instead played for the University of Michigan where he led them to two Big Ten championships.

He was then drafted in 1989 in the 1st round (8th pick overall) by the California Angels, where he never played a minor league game, instead being placed in the starting rotation of the Major League club as a rookie. He went 12-12 on a very poor club. Two years later, he won 18 games and placed third in Cy Young voting.

On September 4, 1993 while pitching for the New York Yankees, Abbott pitched a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians.

Abbott retired after the 1999 season with a career record of 87–108, with a 4.25 ERA.

While looking at the photograph it is conceivable to ponder that he might have been an athlete, most would never guess that he pitched a no-hitter. And then there's what you can't see in photograph, it's hidden by the podium. Well, really, it isn't hidden by the podium.

You see, Jim Abbott was born without a right hand.


nan shartel June 8, 2010 @ 12:14 p.m.

i think what this blog shows so clearly is that people in general trust the system to solve their problems

and that's just so not right....the system is red tape based...phone calls that will be made by that responder of a panic button to a sheriff being called to an officer who eventually will be sent to the scene

just in time to find her dead stabbed beaten shot body on the floor

u know the way all of us watch a movie with a plot like this and we say...



i admit that Dr Phil gets on my last nerve sometime..but he has one saying that is so f***ing true


why didn't she leave????

why didn't she have him arrested and jailed for spousal abuse

why did this clear thinking successful woman in so many other ways not do the correct things that would have saved her life???????


nan shartel June 8, 2010 @ 12:16 p.m.

and Jay...if u cut ur hair u'll break this hippies heart


nan shartel June 8, 2010 @ 12:17 p.m.

forgive these peeps Refried...they got their brains in a twist homey


David Dodd June 8, 2010 @ 12:36 p.m.

It's fine, nan, just a difference of opinion. That never hurt anyone.


David Dodd June 8, 2010 @ 2:53 p.m.

I remember the same about Abbott. An amazing athlete. I grew up in Southern California; heck, my memories of the Angels go back to the Roger Repoz days.


David Dodd June 8, 2010 @ 5:27 p.m.

Mine was likely '67 or '68 as a young kid. "One-swing" Repoz was out there in right field, he was one of those guys that the Yankees had originally touted as "the next Mantle". By the time he got to the Angels, everyone knew better.

I went to a lot of games up into the '80's. You could always get tickets to the Angels games, I remember my father at one point got season tickets through work to give to clients and no one wanted them. I would drive down to the Big A with my little brother with four tickets behind home plate and stand in the parking lot, it took a long time to give away the other two tickets sometimes.


charity4all June 8, 2010 @ 7:57 p.m.

@nan - She did leave. She did have him arrested. It didn't matter. He was determined, and a restraining order is only as good or strong as the paper it's written on. If someone is set on having their way, there is little that can be done to protect someone unless they go to a shelter. If you've ever spent time in a shelter you will know why she didn't choose that. Have you ever been attacked by a man? Beaten, raped? Before you pass judgment you better know what you are talking about.


MsGrant June 8, 2010 @ 8:44 p.m.

I don't think nan was passing judgement. I am pretty sure she is expressing what everyone asks when they read again how a woman died at the hands of her spouse or boyfriend. You do not need to be attacked, beaten, raped to express frustration and outrage at something that should not ever happen to women but continues to happen every second of every day. We know that women do not get a fair shake when it comes to the justice system and we also know that these types of men will hunt you down and kill you if you try to leave them. Unfortunately, no one can predict their future behavior and are unaware of their past behavior when they first meet this type of man, and by then it is too late. They usually will stop at nothing.


SurfPuppy619 June 9, 2010 @ 8:10 a.m.

He was determined, and a restraining order is only as good or strong as the paper it's written on.

A protection order is useless . . .

these types of men will hunt you down and kill you if you try to leave them

Very true, and this is why I think people need the right to carry a firearm, for situations like this, where your life is in danger and the only person that can protect you-is yourself. And although it happens less frequently, it is not limited to men (can you say Betty Broederick or Lorreta Bobbit)


nan shartel June 9, 2010 @ 5:12 p.m.

charity4all...she waffled...came and went...never stuck to her guns about the abuse...sometime didn't even file a report...she did take the steps to make the problem go away but she didn't take all of the needed steps...she let him in to collect thing...it seems she didn't even have the locks changed...didn't put bars on the windows..she didn't buy an attack dog...she should have had someone in the house with her at all times

no i haven't ever been beaten or rape...and i had a rule


what about self defense classes...why was Frank able to enter the house

these kind of men being so dangerous absolutely all things must be done to make the environment safer...even right down to an electrified fence if needed

i spent many years working in a Emergency Room charity4all...i'm also a woman who is all to familiar with brutal people because i saw so much in the Emergency Room

i saw a 5th year Pediatric intern nearly kill a stepfather who rape and brutalized his 5 year old stepdaughter with her mother looking on but unable due fear to defend her...he tore thru her vaginal canal and her bowel and bladder wall...i cheered that DOC on!!!

hunny...i've seen everything

and to intimate shelters r in some ways to awful to spend time in just plain stupidity...the grave is much worse

i have been on the down side of civilized humanity...i have lots of experence and am not uninformed or too well off to understand or be sensitive to those less fortunate...i've been one of the less fortunate

i thought i was clear in my previous statement that sometimes one has to make sacrifices unexpected to save one life...his first wife ran and save her life...this gal should have too

if u depend on a slow flaky undependable system to save u...u'll be knee deep in s*** before noon!!


aquarimary June 10, 2010 @ 11:45 a.m.

All said... still a VERY unfortunate story, and I can't help but feel like this could have happened to any of us, even you, nan. She had her guns and her emergency plan, but the guy didn't give up until he made sure that if he couldn't have her, no one would. "But for the grace of God, there, go I" Words to contemplate,in this judgmental world.


nan shartel June 10, 2010 @ 9:45 p.m.

agreed aquarimary...but it makes me livid that it ended this way...i guess more then anything else it's the false assurance that these things can be manage in a civil lawful manner

cause in cases like these they can't...the only redeeming quality in this piece was that he died a slow excruciating death...i wish it had been more painful and lasted longer

really i hardly ever get like this...but this really got to me...reading it was like watching a train wreck and not being to take ur eyes away

i don't judge the lady...but i do judge a system that can't keep people safe


elikas51 June 18, 2010 @ 9:20 p.m.

NAN- YOU POSTED "she let him in to collect thing...it seems she didn't even have the locks changed...didn't put bars on the windows..she didn't buy an attack dog...she should have had someone in the house with her at all times"

TAKE IT FROM THE SOURCE. She had a supervisor watching over while he collected his things! SHE DID CHANGE THE LOCKS. I WAS THERE WITH HER. I understand you are just a reader and these questions are hard not to ask, but just a reminder to not pass judgement when sick reporters like these write half ass stories. How sad for the family. While I strongly agree how important it is for domestic violence awareness, posting unnecessary repetitive details on one story is ridiculous! Perhaps this brilliant reporter should've used a collection of stories instead of one that just created a huge thread of speculation comments.


CryinSilence July 19, 2012 @ 8:44 a.m.

I awoke this morning at 4:45am because I had a dream of Ginger. With warm tears running on the side of my cheeks I wondered what ever happened to Frank. I worked under her Brokerage. She was an amazing caring woman whom I respected and looked upto and was even intimidated from her strong and intelligent character. My father abused my mother and as young as my siblings and I were we remember my mother moving again and again trying to run from him. I was only 3 when one morning he drove her to work and in the parking lot he beat her. She ran out of the car he chased her and dragged her from her hair back into his car and shot her knees so that she could not run from him. After 6 calls for them to show up. Unfortunately he had alredy soved a gun in her mouth. He then turned the gun on himself. I can't. Imagine the agonizing death such as my mother and Ginger and so many others. I pray that both families heal and understand and accept that unity and forgiveness is necessary to release the pain. As for the individual that produced tgis story, I wish they would have had more heart and sympathy to spare unnecessary hurtful details that didnt need to be entailed to publish a story. Seems as if you were trying to write a script. May God forgive and understand your inexperience in life. May he grant you Compassion, Intelligence and Integrity. To the Families my respect and prayers will be


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