A Spokane County Superior Court judge must decide who will inherit the $300,000 estate of female jazz pianist Billy Tipton's ex-wife, a former stripper known as the "Irish Venus."
Kathleen Tipton Oakes lived as bandleader Tipton's wife in Spokane from 1962 until they separated in 1980. Oakes died last year at age 73, and no will was found, The Spokesman-Review reported Sunday.
The three sons she and Tipton adopted have hired lawyers to pursue claims on her estate. If their claims don't hold up, the woman's uncles and cousins in the Midwest and South may share in the proceeds.
....Oakes was 28 and working in nightclubs in Seattle and Spokane when she met the 47-year-old Tipton and they "married." They adopted three infants and she became a middle-class housewife and Cub Scout den mother.
Tipton began dressing as a man early in her jazz career, escaping limitations put on women musicians. Her bands played in the Midwest and Northwest starting in the 1940s. A saxophone and piano player, she performed and recorded with the Billy Tipton Trio in the 1950s.
She retired in Spokane and died in 1989, when her sexual identity as a woman was publicly revealed for the first time. Oakes told reporters she never had sex with Tipton, never slept in the same room with her or saw her naked.