You can never judge a book by its cover. Nor can you judge an eccentric small-town fellow by his lawnmower, apparently:
Mr. [Geoffrey] Holt had blended in for decades in Hinsdale, a town with a population of about 4,000, often sitting on his riding mower in the trailer park where he lived until his death in June at 82.
But he died with a secret that will change Hinsdale for years to come: He was a multimillionaire. And in his will, he had decided to leave all his wealth — $3.8 million — to his adopted hometown.
Imagine the town selectmen sitting around playing gin rummy and pinochle when Mr. Holt's lawyer rolls up with that bit of good news in the form of a will:
It turns out the arrangement "had been struck decades earlier," with Holt having set up the disbursal of his funds with the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
As one official with that group noted, Holt "kept it quiet...He just really wanted to give back in a way that was truly about making the community better without any fanfare or recognition on his part."
The man's millions reportedly came from a fortuitous business buyout in the 1980s coupled with some savvy investments. Lacking many close relationships and unsure of what to do with his fortune, he asked a friend, who suggested he possibly do something for the town.
One town advisor said Holt's bequest will have a major impact on Hinsdale's finances, but that they don't intend to squander it:
She said that the money could be used to fix the town clock or paint the town hall, but that it would be spent frugally, in the spirit of how Mr. Holt lived.
A good way to honor a decent fellow.
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