Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Secret $12M land fortune given to UC



The Associated Press

MUNCIE, Ind. - A woman who left $12 million to the University of Cincinnati lived modestly and never told some of her closest friends, including one of her estate representatives, that she was worth millions.

After Edith Crawley died in December, the personal representative of her estate, Greg Hitchens, sat down to sort through paperwork. As he opened a lockbox and sifted through her documents, Hitchens realized his late friend, a widow for more than 50 years, had a big secret.

"I just never had a clue," Hitchens told The Star Press of Muncie. "I mean, she had always been thrifty. She was very tight with her money."

Hitchens discovered that Crawley's estate, which included 2,400 acres of farmland, was worth millions. Most of her fortune went to her alma mater, the University of Cincinnati.

Crawley left the money to UC's Medical Center. Half of the gift will go toward a wing in her name in the new Center for Academic and Research Excellence building, and for a floor devoted to the Edith J. Crawley Research Center for eye disease of the elderly.

The remaining half will be used to establish a scholarship program in her name for medical students, fellows, residents and other professionals involved in eye research.

"It's an incredible gift, but so fitting of Edith because her passion truly was education," said Hitchens, who lived down the road from Crawley and ran errands for her.

She left the property, worth about $120,000, to Hitchens.

Crawley earned a degree from UC's School of Law in 1933. She held other degrees that included a bachelor's and doctorate from UC in education and psychology and a master's from Butler University in administration, Hitchens said.




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