Benevolent Zora Rich In Spirit And Caring


February 23, 2003

RINGOES, N.J. - "Joe Millionaire" winner Zora Andrich has been hailed as a "saint" by the family of a sick elderly woman she looked after until her dying day.

Vernice Sowsion said the TV winner spent every possible moment with her mother, Mary Cortina, until she died three years ago at age 96.

To earn money to fund her modeling career, Andrich looked after Cortina for three years at the family home in Ringoes, and then at a nearby Lawrenceville nursing home.

She was the first to answer an ad for a helper for the elderly woman. "My mother was instantly attracted to Zora," Sowsion said.

At first, Sowsion thought a 19-year-old wouldn't keep a steady schedule, would fail to show up at the last minute, and would last only a matter of weeks in the job.

"Zora is such a beautiful girl I thought she would be more interested in going to nightclubs and chasing men rather than look after my 90-year-old mother," Sowsion said.

But the reality-TV star, who won $500,000 on the season finale, turned out to be a godsend - polishing Cortina's nails and giving her massages.

"Zora knew exactly what my mother would want, whenever," Sowsion said.

"At the end of my mother's life, after she had a couple of strokes, her eyesight was terrible. The only way she knew it was Zora was because she used to pull her long hair. As soon as she touched the hair, she knew she was in safe hands."

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