After 27 divorces, he's still out looking

July 25, 1993|By Knight-Ridder News Service

GARY, Ind. -- Frank "The Chief" Colbert, 69, has done it again.

On Friday, in the Gary courtroom of Lake Superior Court, Mr. Colbert got a divorce for the 27th time. That ties a monogamous world record, according to the 1993 "Guinness Book of World Records."

"I'm losing track," Mr. Colbert confessed.

"I've spent $10,000 on psychiatrists trying to figure out why," Mr. Colbert said while snacking later on tortilla chips in his trailer home and contemplating his life. "I guess I just don't like living alone."

Wife and now ex-wife No. 27. was Mauna Overturf, 43, whose marriage to "The Chief" lasted six hours (plus the required 60-day waiting period).

Not all the marriages were so short. His first lasted five years. His second, to Lilly, the mother of his four children, spanned 22 years. Some he loved enough to marry more than once. But in terms of longevity, it's gone downhill ever since.

What makes Mr. Colbert alternately so attractive and repulsive to women?

"Some say I have a magnetic field," Mr. Colbert said. "I don't know about that."

At first glance, Mr. Colbert does not look like a lady-killer. He

stands 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a salt-and-pepper beard and the thick chest and belly of a grandfatherly satyr.

Mr. Colbert, a retired pipefitter who is now a professional gambler, said he was on good terms with some of the women he had loved.

"I've lived with a few of them even after the divorce," Mr. Colbert boasted.

The former bar owner said he wasn't sure why he married so many women so quickly. His friend, Lee McClellan, thinks he knows.

"He falls in love easy," Mr. McClellan said. "Every one is the right one for him. When he sees a woman he likes, he thinks somebody's going to try and steal her from him, so he marries her."

Ms. Overturf, whom Mr. Colbert married May 6 in Kentucky, said her ex-husband was a charming man and a gripping storyteller.

"The reason we married was he needed someone to take care of him," Ms. Overturf said.

Ms. Overturf said the honeymoon ended when she discovered that Mr. Colbert's housekeeper was more than a maid.

Mr. Colbert said he didn't know when he would cross the altar next.

E9 "I'm looking for the next candidate now," he grinned.

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