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GERENBECK v. GERENBECK (11/15/62)

November 15, 1962

GERENBECK
v.
GERENBECK, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 270, Oct. T., 1962, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Feb. T., 1960, No. 71, incase of George Gerenbeck, Jr. v. Ruth Beret Jensen Gerenbeck. Decree affirmed; reargument refused December 10, 1962.

COUNSEL

Michael C. Rainone, with him J. Earl Simmons, Jr., for appellant.

David Fitzgerald, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ.

Author: Montgomery

[ 199 Pa. Super. Page 412]

OPINION BY MONTGOMERY, J.

This is an appeal from a decree of divorce a.v.m. granted by the lower court subsequent to its dismissal of the appellant's exceptions to the master's report in an action brought by the husband-appellee against the wife-appellant on the grounds of indignities to the person. The parties were married on March 23, 1935, at West Collingswood, New Jersey. Three children were born of the marriage. Both parties are members of the Society of Friends' religion and are at the present time fifty-one years of age.

The parties had been married for twenty-five years prior to their separation. Despite financial problems, the parties had a normally happy married life until 1945. The testimony as to the conduct of both parties subsequent to that year is conflicting. Appellee accuses the appellant of belittling him a college graduate, in his employment by calling him a "laborer" who carried his lunch to work in a bag. She also called him a "mamma's boy" who never really left home; that he had neither initiative nor a satisfactory job and was making his family live in a dilapidated house. She told

[ 199 Pa. Super. Page 413]

    the appellee that he was as feeble-minded as his sister who was in a mental institution. She made derogatory remarks about her husband while she was at work and in the presence of others, and also called him stupid within the hearing of their neighbors. In the course of these arguments, appellant would pursue her husband to different parts of the house although appellee remained silent. In addition to this type of verbal abuse, the appellant made a large number of overdrafts on the couple's joint bank account without knowledge of her husband. She also made withdrawals from an account which was set up for the education of their children. This testimony of the appellee was corroborated by other witnesses. Their daughter, Lydia, testified that "... an everyday thing would happen and mother would start an argument." She further testified that her mother would pursue her father to other parts of the house, or out in the yard, or to the car to continue the argument. This testimony was also corroborated by E. Chadwick Squires, a friend and lodger in the Gerenbeck home during 1958, and Francis Bosworth, a former employer of the appellant.

Appellee testified to many other occasions when seemingly minor occurrences precipitated criticism, antagonism, and complaints on the part of his wife. He also testified that he was continually rebuffed in his attempts at marital relations and that there had been no intercourse after daughter Martha's birth in 1945.

The only violence alleged by the appellee in his testimony is that on two separate occasions the defendant struck him. The first of these was in March, 1958, when as a result of an argument, he said the appellant came at him with both fists. The second occurred while driving, and, according to the appellee, required him to pull to the side of the road and stop. In ...


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