Son, Widow of Teddy Pendergrass Battle Over Control of Estate

The son and second wife of late singer Teddy Pendergrass are embroiled in a battle over the singer’s estate. Teddy Pendergrass II and Joan Pendergrass have shown conflicting wills since the R&B singer passed away in January (2010). Pendergrass’ son has a will from May 2009 that names him executor and sole beneficiary. The widow has a will that is from a later date where she signed as the singer’s attorney and would give her control. Attorneys for the two conflicting parties are scheduled to meet next week. Teddy Pendergrass skyrocketed to fame in the 1970s and is most known for the song “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” which he recorded with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes in 1972. In 1982, his career was put on hold after a car crash in Philadelphia left him paralyzed. Pendergrass married Joan Williams, a New Balance shoe company executive from Boston in 2008. He had three adult children, and she had two. In mid-2009, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, and the last eight months of his life were spent in a hospital until his death on Jan. 13. Two friends say that he was lucid until the end. Pendergrass’ survivors organized separate funeral receptions where one was hosted by his widow, and the other by his ex-wife. A lawyer for Joan Pendergrass says that the conflict is not about money, but more about the singer’s legacy. “To say it’s a money grab is ludicrous—there’s just no money to fight about,” lawyer Kevin Glickman said. Because Pendergrass did not write most of his songs, his estate has little royalty income. Next month a bank is set to auction off his home in Penn Valley, now worth perhaps half its former $1.5 million sale price.


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