Windfall: Local man leaves $822,000 to six Whitehall non-profits

S ix local non-profit organizations are the benefactors of a generous posthumous gift left by a former graduate of Whitehall High School.

Ed Scott, a former resident of Whitehall and a 1954 graduate of Whitehall High, donated over $822,000 to six organizations within the community.

 Recognizing the difficult economic times which lie ahead, Scott established an IRA to fund six organizations of his choosing after he passed away and during the past two months, distributions from this account were made to the following organizations: the Whitehall Historical Society ($164,580), the Skene Manor ($205,725), the Whitehall Free Library ($164,580), the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company ($41,145), the Skenesborough Emergency Squad ($41,145) and Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church ($82,290).

Representatives of those organizations expressed their heartfelt gratitude and those who knew him spoke highly of a man they all said loved Whitehall.

“He was very mild-mannered and I was very impressed with his intelligence,” said Catherine Manuele, who serves on the Skene Manor board of directors. “He was a wonderful man and it was a pleasure to know him. He was an exceptional, exceptional man. I can’t say enough good things about Ed.”

“This came at a most opportune time. There were several things that needed to be done. This was a wonderful thing he did and he is instrumental in saving this building. We were all overwhelmed and would like to thank Ed and his family.”

Manuele said Scott had provided financial assistance to the Skene Manor on several occasions in the past and was responsible for the replacement of the estates front wall.

He and childhood friend Bob Hoffman were also responsible for establishing the Gilly Room which is dedicated to former Whitehall football coach, principal and superintendent Ambrose Gilligan.

“Ed always told us the Skene Manor was Whitehall’s Jewel,” Manuele said. “He loved Whitehall and his roots were here.”

She said the estate will dedicate its entry way in Scott’s honor next spring.

Ruth Scribner, who chairs the Skenesborough EMS board of directors described Scott as a “very nice man and quite the benefactor for Whitehall.”

Scribner said she’s has no knowledge of Scott ever being involved with the organization so it came as a pleasant surprise when they learned of the gift earlier this year.

“I don’t know why he did it, but I’m sure thankful he did,” Scribner said. “It’s worked out wonderfully.”

Elvira Neumann, Scott’s sister, pointed out her brother’s concern for the safety of his hometown as his possible motivation for his gift to the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company and the Skenesborough Emergency Squad.

“He always kept in touch with Whitehall,” Nuemann said. “He wanted to see these organizations continue and not fall apart.  It was a very nice thing he did for the community and it was a very genuine feeling.”

WVFC president Brian Brooks said the gift will allow the company to move ahead with its goal of becoming the best fire company in the county.

“It’s an awesome thing that a person who cared about the community stepped forward like this to help out,” Brooks said. “It’s very much appreciated and we have hung his obit on the wall so everyone in the department knows who he is and what he did.”

Carol Greenough described the gift “as a great benefit to our organization (the Whitehall Historical Society) and will make it possible for us to continue educating people about the history of Whitehall and its beginnings well into the future.”

Greenough said she was stunned by the gift but immediately thought of the things the money could do for the community in the coming years.

“He wanted the money to be used to support our efforts to educate people on the importance of Whitehall and its role in history. He trusted us to use the money to the best benefit of Whitehall.”

Almost all agreed that the gift could not have come at a better time.

“Our library, we’re struggling like all small libraries,” said Whitehall Free Library librarian Karen Gordon. “We’re thrilled to receive this.”

Scribner said the squad may use the money toward the purchase of a new ambulance and Brooks said the fire company has established a capital reserve fund, which was a company goal.

Neumann said Scott knew what Whitehall was a special community to grow up in and he never forgot his positive experiences and connection to his neighbors and friends and it was in that spirit that he wanted to support his home town after he passed away.

“Ed has a positive and lifelong connection to his community and always felt fortunate to have grown up here. This is his way of saying thanks.”

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