Pensions vanish for some elderly Gottschalks retirees

For a handful of octogenarian Gottschalks retirees or their widows, the bankruptcy of the 105-year-old retail chain means more than the loss of the company at which they spent much of their working lives.

They've lost their pension, too

Within days of the Fresno-based retailer filing its Chapter 11 petition with a bankruptcy court in Delaware, the remaining members of a small, select group of retirees received letters telling them their twice-monthly Gottschalks pension payments would stop.

Now they have to get in line with Gottschalks’ other creditors to see what’s going to be left after the company’s assets are liquidated and higher-priority bills paid.

"I don't know what the preferences are, but I guess the suppliers get taken care of first," said Guy Mathys, 83, who retired as Gottschalks' merchandise manager for home furnishings after 26 years with the company. "I guess we’re at the end of the line."

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