In the meantime, List had rented a trailer at the foot of the Rockies near Denver, Colorado. He changed his name to Robert P. Clark. Using a fake social security number, he found work as a night-shift cook at a Holiday Inn. He then moved on to another place, The Pinery, and became assistant manager and accountant. By 1975, he felt bold enough to join a church, St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Denver. The following year, he acquired a driver's license and bought a car. He used it to drive old and infirm members of his church to the places they needed to go. He then became part of the church's finance council. As he realized he would not be caught, he grew into his new life.
Soon he fell in love again, with a divorcee named Delores Miller. They met at a singles social. He replaced his standard coat and tie attire with jeans and an open shirt, and even agreed to take square-dancing lessons. He seemed to her such a gentle man. When she asked, he told her his wife had died of cancer. He never showed her a picture. In 1985, Delores and he were married.
Shortly afterward, List was fired from a job for failing to keep up with company changes, and also was asked to leave his post as a Sunday school teacher, because he was too strict and demanding of the students. His attempt to become an independent financial consultant also failed. It seemed that his former life was repeating itself.
He had a difficult time finding work at the age of 55 in a poor economy and Delores began to regret joining her life to his. She grew contemptuous and spoke of leaving him. As List sat alone each day at home after an unsuccessful outing, his neighbor, Wanda Flannery, got to know him pretty well. It would not be long before he regretted allowing her into his life.
A series of bad things happened in the life of List and his second wife: their neighborhood deteriorated and property declined in value. Their dog was beaten to death outside their gate. Something had to change.