By Michael E. Miller
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Initially, the family embraced Brady's help. But as the doctor became more involved in Enright's life, she reached out to her family less. "I'm not going to say he turned her against us. I won't go that far," Ketzle says. But after meeting the doctor Enright did stop calling her kin.
"We felt he took an unusual interest in her," Ketzle notes.
Enright died of natural causes, on April 22, 1993, at age 96, having never made a will. Brady signed the death certificate as the certifying physician. Enright had also appointed Brady as her personal representative, the man in charge of her estate. The family could have protested, but, Ketzle admits, they were naive and felt a sense of relief that someone else was handling that business. "The truth of it was that we were tired," she says. Because of the lack of will, Brady hired a genealogical research firm that found more than 90 relatives. Enright's $300,000 in assets was divvied up among them all. Westberry, who had cared for her much of his life, received $4406. The estate paid Brady at least $20,000 for handling the deceased woman's affairs.
It goes down as a very difficult period in the family's life.
"We made the mistake of handing control over to him," Ketzle now says. "He came out smelling like a rose and got a lot of our money."
Unlike Enright, Clara Lewis, "Marty" to her friends, left few loose ends when she died.
"She had become a recluse," says her friend Mary Rodneff. "I'd stop by to give her some company. She just needed someone to talk to. She was set in her ways, but very trusting."
Rodneff, who has since moved out of Miami, never met Brady. "No, I'm sorry, I never heard of him," she says. Nor did Lewis's neighbors of 40 years, William and Eunice Amos. And that's unusual because they knew everyone else who Lewis included in her will: the stepdaughter in California, the niece in Virginia, her close friends in northern Florida, even Michael Carrier, the Winn-Dixie employee who used to make special trips to bring Lewis her groceries. But they did not know Brady. "I've never heard of him," Eunice Amos remarks.
Carrier, who had befriended Lewis and her husband in the early 1980s, and who Lewis selected as her personal representative after she died, did meet Brady once at the hospital after Lewis had a stroke. "I know he made house calls as well, but I was never there when he came," he says. "From what I could tell, he took care of the lady."
Lewis died on July 13, 1997, at age 90. Brady once again signed the death certificate. This time there was a last will and testament. Lewis doled out $187,000 in cash, from more than $450,000 in the estate, to eight friends and relatives. Her stepdaughter received $100,000. After the cash was paid out, she left half of her estate, which included her 10,000 square foot home on Santurce Avenue in Coral Gables, to Brady, who made at least $92,000 after the sale of the house.
"She offered the home to me once," Carrier recalled. "But I told her I didn't want it. I didn't agree to do this for financial gain. I did it because, well, I respected her."
At the same time that he was tending to Lewis, Brady was also taking a special interest in Viola Drees.
Brady had been caring for Drees's husband Billy, a horse trainer and bar owner originally from upstate New York, since 1990. In 1993 Billy Drees died and Viola kept the doctor on as her personal physician.
Mary Oakes, a home-health nurse who had been caring for Mr. Drees, recalled a conversation she had with Brady around that time.
"My association with Dr. A.H. Brady was professional. So, I was surprised when he called me -- on a weekend day, sometime after Billy Drees had died -- and suggested that I be the executor of Mrs. Viola Drees's will," Oakes wrote in a notarized statement. "He stated öThere is money there.' This suggestion made me feel very uncomfortable."
Oakes declined to be interviewed other than to verify that statement and add that the reason it made her uncomfortable was because of the implications. "I just feel we have to be professional about this and not take advantage of vulnerable people," Oakes, who is now retired, says, adding that the matter was dropped and never brought up again.
As a widow, Viola Drees, like both Lewis and Enright before her, relied on significant outside help in order to get through her days. She had groceries delivered. She hired a woman who had grown up across the street from her, Sherrin Smith, to pay her bills and balance her checkbook as well as find people to help maintain the house. She used upstairs tenants to help with odd jobs. And her niece Vivian Getman, 64 years old, who lives in Sanford, Florida, would check in on Drees every month.
Drees was, by most accounts, animated and fond of her whiskey. "She drank a lot," Getman said in a deposition in which she also described her aunt as "short-tempered."