Woman surprises groups with $6 million bequest

CLEVELAND (AP) - A woman left $6 million in her will to two organizations she never visited.
Helen King Brydle of suburban Hunting Valley left $3 million each to the Holden Arboretum and the Animal Protective League Brydle, who owned an insurance company, died in October at age 98. Word of her bequest went out to the two groups last year, and the checks arrived last week. Each is expecting to get at least another $1 million from the $10 million estate after taxes are paid.
"These kinds of gifts that come out of the sky -- they're wonderful," said Richard Paulson, the APL's interim executive director.
Brydle's donation to the APL is its largest ever and more than its annual operating budget of $2.2 million, he said.
The Holden Arboretum's share is one of its largest gifts since the nature preserve was created in 1931, said development officer Beth Brown. The money will double the Kirtland arboretum's endowment.
Brydle, a widow with no children, wanted to leave her money to groups that rescue animals and protect nature. While preparing her will, she asked for ideas from Dorothy Sturgis, her friend and the executor of her estate.
Brydle sold insurance policies to the area's biggest businesses, including TRW. Eventually she opened her own agency, H.R. King and Associates. She built her fortune by investing in bonds and real estate when she was in her 20s, Sturgis said.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)