Whatever Happened to Margaret? The Final Days of the Iconic Owner of Boise's Hollywood Market 

Mystery, legal questions surround the last days of Margaret Lawrence

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Derr, who also knew Margaret for more than 50 years, and occasionally served as her lawyer, remembered his friend and client as a tough negotiator.

"The last time I represented her, we had a big disagreement over some work I had done for her," said Derr. "And of course, she questioned how much she was willing to pay for it."

Derr confirmed that Margaret's sole focus in life was to make certain that Danny was taken care of, but said he was uncertain of how Hansen became a petitioner for Margaret's affairs.

"I'm not even going to speculate on that," said Derr. "Danny became a member of the LDS church, but Margaret was not a member of that church."

"In her will, Margaret had some things that said that if she became incapacitated, the bank would take control over her property," said Hansen. "I was involved in some of those meetings. Wells Fargo [executor of Margaret's will] wanted to have somebody there to protect her and help her physically and mentally."

Hansen's court petition for guardianship included a March 17 letter from Boise neurosurgeon Roy Frizzell, who said he knew Margaret for six years, declaring her to be "mentally incapacitated, unable to effectively manage or apply her estate to necessary ends."

The letter and the attached petition, approved by Bieter, changed everything for Margaret and Danny.

"Margaret told me many years ago that if they ever made her leave the store, she would die a short time later," said Derr. "That prediction certainly came true."

Whether Margaret had all of her faculties at the time of the court order was the subject of some debate.

"They said Margaret was having trouble making change," said Haroian. "Well, for goodness sake, she always had trouble making change. You know what it was? She was so trusting. She would allow customers to have tabs and she told them they could pay her later."

"For years, people always had questions about the store," said Derr. "I would get phone calls to check on her, but she hadn't lost her mind. In fact, she was always reading every day, and she was very well-informed. If she wasn't attending to a customer, she was reading."

Title 15, Chapter 5, Part 4 of Idaho Code addresses "protection of property of persons under disability and minors." The law states that "a protective order may be made in relation to the estate and affairs of a person if the court determines that 1) the person is unable to manage (his) property and affairs effectively for reasons such as mental illness ... and 2) the person has property which will be wasted or dissipated unless proper management is provided."

Following the court's approval of the petition in late April, a newly appointed guardian, Debbie Hansen (no relation to Reed) of Castle Rock Services, assigned a professional aide to oversee Margaret's affairs while working in the store. The aide began distributing a letter to customers who walked into the North End market, classifying a guardian as "a parent" and Margaret as "a minor child." The letter also threatened anyone interfering with the guardian's duties could "be construed as elder abuse and turned into law enforcement." BW tried to contact Debbie Hansen on multiple occasions but our calls went unreturned.

"A short time later, I walked into the store to see what was going on," said Weber. "And they handed me the letter. I asked, 'What is this?' And they said, 'This is Margaret's choice.' But that simply was not true."

Reed Hansen conceded that Margaret didn't like having someone "shadowing her."

"She didn't want anybody looking over her shoulder or telling her what she had to do," said Hansen. "No, she didn't like it at all."

Approximately one week later, in early May, Debbie Hansen asked Weber to help escort Margaret on a visit to the Willow Park assisted living facility on Milwaukee Street.

"Yeah, they thought that if I went with them, Margaret would be more amenable about going into a nursing home, but she was having none of it," said Weber. "They even tried to get her to sign some papers there, voluntarily admitting herself, but she refused. She was not happy."

Margaret knew something was up. She called a friend, Kathy Vawter, to drive her home from work a little early the evening of May 9.

"When we walked into the door of her home, Margaret turned to Danny and said, 'I don't really know what is going to happen tomorrow,'" said Vawter. "She was worried."

Friends said the next day two men from the LDS church came to Margaret's home and asked to spend the day with Danny. Shortly thereafter, friends said someone escorted Margaret not to the assisted living facility, but to Boise Behavior, an acute mental health hospital for "psychiatric intervention and stabilization." A sign was put up on the door of the Hollywood Market: "Closed Due to Illness."

"I had stopped by the store to visit with her," remembered Derr. "And John Weber came running across the street and said he had some bad news. Margaret had been taken away."

"They just shut her off from the whole world," said Weber.

"She just disappeared," said Haroian. "Nobody knew where she went. We immediately started making calls."

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