Become A Legacy Maker
The Elvira Smith Bequest
“Home for me will always be Westport and is closest to my heart!” (Elvira Smith)
Born just before the First World War, Elvira Smith’s life spanned over a century of local history. She passed away at the age of 102, leaving a lasting legacy to the Westport Historical Society in the form of a bequest of $195,000 –a gift that was inspired by her love of Westport.
“This is the largest gift from an individual to the historical society during my time as director,” noted Jenny O’Neill, Executive Director. “It came as a great surprise to all of us! The board is unanimous in its decision to designate this bequest as a reserve fund, not to be used for our operating budget, but will instead provide a safety net for the historical society for many generations to come.”
Elvira’s childhood was spent on a farm located on Horseneck Road, helping her father in the fields, driving cows to the spring brook, feeding the chickens and collecting their eggs.
When interviewed a few years ago, Elvira remarked: “Some of my fondest memories are working with my father on the farm. I believe all that hard work contributed to my physical strength and character lingering throughout my long life.”
She recalled a frugal lifestyle: “We would use the cotton from the flour sacks to make our aprons. I remember that instead of throwing our old sweaters away, we would unravel the yarn, then wash and clean it to take out the wrinkles. My mother had the expression “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”. We lived by that slogan then and I still do now.”
Elvira also embraced modernity, becoming the first in her family to obtain a driving license and was the proud owner of a 1930 Chevy. She celebrated her graduation in 1932 by getting a “finger wave.”
Elvira’s bequest will provide a sustaining fund for the historical society’s future. It is a transformative gift that will ensure the longevity of our organization and shape our future.
Become a Legacy Maker
Westport’s unique character was forged in the stories of people who came here before us. The Westport Historical Society preserves these memories by maintaining the documents and artifacts that illuminate the narrative of our individual lives.
Your generous support of the Westport Historical Society’s stewardship, preservation work, educational programs and events maintain Westport’s fragile bridges to the past. Now you and the Westport Historical Society can work together to establish a new and special legacy gift program to secure the future of our town as well as recognize your own significant contribution to it.
Many non-profits like ours have secured their futures through planned giving and estate plans to meet the needs of donors. A bequest will establish your individual permanent legacy and help inspire young and old alike to explore the past, understand the present and even prepare for the future.
Becoming a legacy maker is easy. Through a bequest in your will or a provision in your living trust, you may name the Westport Historical Society as a beneficiary of a specific dollar amount or a percentage of your estate, or part or all of what remains of the estate after other bequests are carried out.
An example of some simple bequest language is:
“I hereby bequeath [the sum of _______dollars ($) or ___ percent (%) of the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate], to the Westport Historical Society, a Massachusetts non-profit corporation, for its general purposes.”