Marcella was born in 1918 and died 90 years later in 2008. She married but had no children. Her sister Marion was born in 1919 and passed away this year at age 97, never having married. Both sisters established charitable remainder trusts with themselves as the income beneficiary for life and each other as remainder income beneficiaries. So when Marcella died in 2008, the income from her trust continued to pay to Marion until her death. They both listed the Zoo as one of three charitable beneficiaries to receive the proceeds upon the passing of the second to die. In addition to the charitable remainder trusts, they set up revocable living trusts that also left income and assets to the remaining sister and ultimate distribution to the same three charities. So a month or so ago, the Zoo received four checks representing the final distributions from these four trusts from these two generous women.
Unfortunately, we never knew them. They must have come through our gates at some point in the past, but we were unaware of them. The moral of this story is that we will continue to strive for excellence in all we do so that our guests, like Marcella and Marion, will take note of the exceptional place that this is regardless of whether we meet them or not. We may never know when we are sharing our hospitality with unknown future benefactors.