How Many Wives Chuck Dederich Did Have? Who Were They?

If there’s one thing nobody can deny, it’s that greed, money, and power are what led to the downfall of Charles “Chuck” Dederich plus his drug rehabilitation facility turned cult Syanonan. This much has actually even been evidenced in HBO’s Rory Kennedy-directed ‘The Synanon Fix,’ which delves into every aspect of the latter’s once-active operations to chronicle its infamy. Yet for now, if you simply wish to learn more about this alcoholic turned cult leader founder — his personal life as well as marriages in particular — we’ve got the necessary details for you.

Charles “Chuck” Dederich Sr. Married 4 Times

It was back around the 1930s when Chuck tied the knot for the first time and welcomed his son Charles Dederich Jr. into this world, only to soon walk out on them both for another woman. Unfortunately, neither of their names is public knowledge, but we do know he’d met the latter while she was working for a weed-killing corporation he’d set up long before they had a little girl. This daughter, Jady Dederich Montgomery (born Cecilia Dederich), actually featured in the aforementioned original, where she indicated her father failed his marriages owing to alcoholism.

Chuck Dederich’s Second Wife and Jady Dederich Montgomery

However, by the time 1958 rolled around, Chuck was sober as well as determined to help his fellow addicts recover by setting up Tender Loving Care (later rebranded to now-infamous Synanon). It turns out he’d taken notice of the fact drug addicts weren’t always welcome into his haven of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), so he decided to build a safe, non-judgmental space for them too. “Why [my dad] wasn’t turned off by people very different from him in every way, I don’t know,” Jady expressed in the show. “Maybe it was his face, his disfigurement from meningitis.”

Chuck’s daughter continued, “He was the outcast, the person who’d been a failure his whole life. A person who was broken and lost and had found his way in connection with other people,” especially with Synanon after his alcohol struggles had led to two divorces. Though little did he or his kids know that he’d come across his third wife, the woman who was arguably the love of his life, Betty Coleman, through this program as she abused hard narcotics. In fact, per his own accounts, she was also a call girl, a prostitute, a madam, one of the biggest dope dealers in Los Angeles, California, along with much more, and she did it all to satisfy her addiction.

The Dederich Family

Nevertheless, things changed once Betty fully committed to Synanon’s ways, ultimately leading to her and Chuck getting together at a time when interracial relationships were sadly taboo. Per the series, she once said, “The old man and I started going together, people were just in shock… We kind of made a statement to the world. We refused to hide our light under a barrel.” They thus married in 1963, just for their entire internal community to support them — although, it admittedly took Jady some time to warm up to her step-mom since her birth mother had passed just shortly before.

“Betty was gentle,” Jady expressed at one point. “She could connect and touch people, but always with a kind of grace and dignity. She was balanced for dad. She was kind of a mediator, I think. You know, it took me a while to fully accept her partly because I felt like I was betraying my own mother… Then it was learning how to be out in the world with an integrated family.” As if that’s not enough, they then ran Synanon together for 14 years, during which they expanded across the nation as well as set up new protocols, with Betty being the only woman on the board of directors.

Chuck Dederich and Regina “Ginny” Schorin

But alas, everything changed in 1977 as Betty passed away from lung cancer — she was diagnosed in January following terrible chest pains and unfortunately died on April 19 of the same year. “Very shocking,” Jady somberly conceded in the production. “Heartbreaking. Heartbreaking. Heartbreaking for my dad, who went into overdrive and mania around it. Heartbreaking for the community — for Synanon. This is a family business; he was dad and she was mom.” Betty was 55 at the time, and because she’d given so much of herself to not just her loved ones but also this establishment as a whole, she was paid tribute by members in various ways.

“My dad was going crazy [after Betty’s demise],” now 73-year-old Jady revealed. “He was screaming all the time on The Wire [the internal radio-like system that connected all Synanon facilities]. He covered the pain with anger because he couldn’t grieve. He was a forward-moving kind of a person, so I think he was trying to move on because, you know, within 3-4 months, he had moved on.” Chuck actually went on The Wire inviting any single, available woman who’d like to be his wife to apply for the position, and member-teacher Regina “Ginny” Schorin was selected from that pile.

The Dederichs; Charles Jr., Betty, Jady, and Chuck

However, despite Chuck and Ginny not being a pure love match, they remained married right until February 28, 1997, that is, the day the former died from cardiorespiratory failure at the age of 83. As for the latter, she eventually found herself in a romantic partnership with Cliff Bressler, with whom she enjoyed all the simple pleasures of life until she herself actually passed at nearly 80 on July 10, 2023, in Visalia, California. She reportedly had no children of her own, meaning she’s only survived by her two loving sisters, Marilyn Schorin of Louisville, Kentucky, plus Ellie MacMullin of Pasadena, California, at the moment.

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