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San Diego woman leaves $3,000 apiece to Russian cosmonauts

$80,000 to Russian and Chinese orphanages

Gherman Titov, Nikita Khrushchev and Yuri Gagarin at Red Square in Moscow, 20 November 1961
Gherman Titov, Nikita Khrushchev and Yuri Gagarin at Red Square in Moscow, 20 November 1961

I felt as though my searching was coming to the end, that I had exhausted just about all my Ancestry leads. For the heck of it, and not expecting to find anything helpful, I Googled Glikeria Rogers. I figured her name was unusual enough that if I got a hit, it would definitely be her and not another Glikeria Rogers. Paydirt! I was amazed to get several hits. One was a 1959 permit application to have a garage built at her Georgia St. property, and the address on that paperwork matched that of her 1959 directory listing. Maybe the answer to the three different Georgia St. addresses riddle was in the application: “…that agreement be filed that 2 parcels will remain in one ownership & never sold sep”. It seemed, therefore, that Glikeria was possibly moving from one living space to another, most likely within the same building.

Maybe she had decided that without Harry, and now settling into her senior years, she would fix up apartments in the same building, and then flip those instead of houses? Was she still at it near the time of her death in 1965? Is it possible that someone in her Georgia St. neighborhood might even remember her?

As I kept rolling the flipping concept over and over in my mind, I moved on to my next Google discovery: an article about Glikeria’s will from the L.A. Times. The 1967 news story focused on a judge’s decision to allow Glikeria to leave $3,000 apiece to Russian cosmonauts Yuri Gargarin and Gherman Titov. To quote the article, “Probate Judge William Sommer ruled that reciprocal rights of inheritance exist between the Soviet Union and the United States in the case of individuals.”

The article mentioned that Glikeria had left $80,000 split between a few Russian and Chinese orphanages, but the judge hadn’t yet ruled on “reciprocity rights regarding institutions”, so that decision was still to come. The legal questions involving a U.S. citizen trying to will money to Russian or Chinese entities obviously emanated from the Cold War, but $80,000? That was an impressive contribution in the mid-sixties. From the article: “The money is from the estate of Mrs. Glikeria Rogers, who made $200,000 in real estate and died in San Diego two years ago at the age of 75.”

And there it was. Real estate wheeling and dealing—yes, flipping!--had evidently become Glikeria’s (and probably Harry’s) passion. But it wasn’t until I went to look at the “Newspapers and Periodicals” link on Ancestry that I found several more articles from the same period about Glikeria’s will. The most revealing one was from the Winnipeg Free Press, believe it or not. (I never found a Canadian connection to Harry and Glikeria.)

The article finally and wholeheartedly confirmed my house flipping hunch. Referring to Harry and Glikeria: “They bought rundown properties, rebuilt them and sold them at handsome profits.” I think the term “rebuilt” may have been an exaggeration, and “handsome profits” has to be considered in context. Another article referred to the $200,000 Glikeria willed to various charities, organizations, and individuals as a “fortune”, but, adjusted for inflation, that amount would be a little more than $1,500,000 today. Yes, Harry and Glikeria obviously did nicely for themselves as San Diego’s possibly first house flippers, but they didn’t exactly own an empire when either passed on. Glikeria’s posthumous intentions obviously showed that she felt very tied to her native Russia, and I also have to wonder if she had been an orphan, herself.

Next week – Part 6: Did Harry and Glikeria build our mudroom?

To read Part 1: Who owned our house on Richmond Street? click here.

To read Part 2: Hillcrest house falls from $12,000 to $5,000 in ten years click here.

To read Part 3: Buried at Ft. Rosecrans with Russian bride click here.

To read Part 4: Bought houses on Brookes, Upas, 8th Avenue, Georgia Street click here.

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Gherman Titov, Nikita Khrushchev and Yuri Gagarin at Red Square in Moscow, 20 November 1961
Gherman Titov, Nikita Khrushchev and Yuri Gagarin at Red Square in Moscow, 20 November 1961

I felt as though my searching was coming to the end, that I had exhausted just about all my Ancestry leads. For the heck of it, and not expecting to find anything helpful, I Googled Glikeria Rogers. I figured her name was unusual enough that if I got a hit, it would definitely be her and not another Glikeria Rogers. Paydirt! I was amazed to get several hits. One was a 1959 permit application to have a garage built at her Georgia St. property, and the address on that paperwork matched that of her 1959 directory listing. Maybe the answer to the three different Georgia St. addresses riddle was in the application: “…that agreement be filed that 2 parcels will remain in one ownership & never sold sep”. It seemed, therefore, that Glikeria was possibly moving from one living space to another, most likely within the same building.

Maybe she had decided that without Harry, and now settling into her senior years, she would fix up apartments in the same building, and then flip those instead of houses? Was she still at it near the time of her death in 1965? Is it possible that someone in her Georgia St. neighborhood might even remember her?

As I kept rolling the flipping concept over and over in my mind, I moved on to my next Google discovery: an article about Glikeria’s will from the L.A. Times. The 1967 news story focused on a judge’s decision to allow Glikeria to leave $3,000 apiece to Russian cosmonauts Yuri Gargarin and Gherman Titov. To quote the article, “Probate Judge William Sommer ruled that reciprocal rights of inheritance exist between the Soviet Union and the United States in the case of individuals.”

The article mentioned that Glikeria had left $80,000 split between a few Russian and Chinese orphanages, but the judge hadn’t yet ruled on “reciprocity rights regarding institutions”, so that decision was still to come. The legal questions involving a U.S. citizen trying to will money to Russian or Chinese entities obviously emanated from the Cold War, but $80,000? That was an impressive contribution in the mid-sixties. From the article: “The money is from the estate of Mrs. Glikeria Rogers, who made $200,000 in real estate and died in San Diego two years ago at the age of 75.”

And there it was. Real estate wheeling and dealing—yes, flipping!--had evidently become Glikeria’s (and probably Harry’s) passion. But it wasn’t until I went to look at the “Newspapers and Periodicals” link on Ancestry that I found several more articles from the same period about Glikeria’s will. The most revealing one was from the Winnipeg Free Press, believe it or not. (I never found a Canadian connection to Harry and Glikeria.)

The article finally and wholeheartedly confirmed my house flipping hunch. Referring to Harry and Glikeria: “They bought rundown properties, rebuilt them and sold them at handsome profits.” I think the term “rebuilt” may have been an exaggeration, and “handsome profits” has to be considered in context. Another article referred to the $200,000 Glikeria willed to various charities, organizations, and individuals as a “fortune”, but, adjusted for inflation, that amount would be a little more than $1,500,000 today. Yes, Harry and Glikeria obviously did nicely for themselves as San Diego’s possibly first house flippers, but they didn’t exactly own an empire when either passed on. Glikeria’s posthumous intentions obviously showed that she felt very tied to her native Russia, and I also have to wonder if she had been an orphan, herself.

Next week – Part 6: Did Harry and Glikeria build our mudroom?

To read Part 1: Who owned our house on Richmond Street? click here.

To read Part 2: Hillcrest house falls from $12,000 to $5,000 in ten years click here.

To read Part 3: Buried at Ft. Rosecrans with Russian bride click here.

To read Part 4: Bought houses on Brookes, Upas, 8th Avenue, Georgia Street click here.

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