Jerry would like to get in touch with JoAnne. They were once sweethearts. Now he just wants to know how life has treated her in the 40 years since.

I know all this because my editor studies each day’s paper with great scrutiny.

“You should take a look at the ad on Page A18 in Sunday’s paper,’’ she suggested.

The ad was placed by a man named Jerry Mote. It read: “Jerry, an old friend, is looking for JoAnne Lohr! Joanne lived in Mesa back in the 50s and went to St. Joseph’s Nursing School in the early 60s. Jerry would like to get in touch (either by E-mail or phone) and let her know that he never forgot anything.’’

So I called the number.

“Jerry, this is JoAnne. I had a sex-change operation in 1980 and would really love to get back together with you.’’

OK. I didn’t really say that.

I just told him I was interested in his story. He was agreeable.

Mote, 68, paid $225.45 to run the 2-column-by-2-inch ad in three editions of the Tribune. He said he hadn’t spoken to JoAnne since around 1962.

“Nothing sinister, I’m just interested in how things turned out for her,’’ he said. “I’m not getting any younger, so if I’m ever going to to find out, I had better do it now.’’

Jerry and JoAnne met around 1960, when Jerry was admitted to the hospital with severe stomach pains and JoAnne, a candy striper and nursing student, paid him a visit. They started dating, but parted company in 1962 with JoAnne telling him that she was interested in one of the doctors she worked with. Jerry has a vague memory that she married the doctor and they moved to the Midwest, perhaps Indiana.

Jerry said he tried to locate JoAnne using an Internet service that tracks down folks, but was told he didn’t have enough information.

“I don’t even know her married name,’’ he said.

Jerry left Arizona for California and lived all over the state before moving to Idaho in 1972. He spent about 40 years in car sales, retiring in 1998. Jerry had two marriages, the second lasting 29 years and producing three children and 10 grandchildren. He lives in Coeur d’Alene now.

“I’ve had a good life,’’ he said, “and I attribute a lot to JoAnne. I was pretty wild back when I knew her, so I want her to know that the emotional investment she made in me all those years ago eventually paid off. She was probably the closest thing to a soul mate I ever had.’’

Although I am the only one who has responded to his ad, Jerry believes someone in Arizona can help him in his search. He would love to talk or correspond with her, but he would also settle for just finding out some of the basic details of her life in the event she would prefer not to have direct contact with him.

So if you can help, give Jerry a call at (208) 765-9019 or send him an e-mail at

motejerry@yahoo.com.

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