Three hospitals in the Normal, Illinois, area will receive bequests from the estate of local resident Kenneth W. Smith, who died last April at the age of 83, the reports.
The gifts, which comprise the bulk of Smith's estate, include $4 million — the largest single gift in the hospital's history — to in Downers Grove, where Smith had been a patient. Smith also bequeathed $1.8 million to , where he died, as well as an unspecified amount to in Clinton. Smith, who never married and had no children, made out his will when he was much younger — possibly more than thirty-five years ago — leaving money to four hospitals, including Brokaw Hospital, which has since become part of Advocate BroMenn. Several churches in the area also received either land or a portion of the estate, Jane Hanson, Smith's longtime friend and companion, told the Pantagraph.
A retired Amtrak locomotive engineer and a farmer with a passion for motorcycles, Corvettes, and trains, Smith was an active volunteer with the Masons, starting in 1955, and was decorated a 33rd Degree sovereign grand inspector general in 2002 at the annual meeting of the Supreme Council in Boston.
"We are truly grateful that Mr. Smith thought so highly of our health ministry," Scott Ford, vice president of development at BroMenn Medical Center, said in a statement. "Generous philanthropic gifts — of any amount — have such a tremendous impact on not only our hospital, but on the entire community that benefits from having a strong and vital healthcare facility close to home."