Updated 12/06/2012 06:20 PM
Surprise millionaire donates $1.5 million to hospitals
Two years after the death of an eccentric Deerfield man, a secret he kept for most of his life is finally coming out. As our Andrew Sorensen tells us, that secret is quite rich in generosity.
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UTICA, N.Y. -- A few people meeting in a coffee shop two years after Arthur John Pultorak died fulfill his final will and testament. The recipients couldn't be more grateful, but to understand his unlikely gift, you need to understand John Pultorak.
"I hope you're listening Johnny, up there! I'm sure he is," said longtime friend Gordon Murray.
Gordon Murray still talks to his dear friend, who described himself as, 'Just a poor farmer.'
"Farmers together for years. Known John all my life," Murray said.
Murray was one of the closest people to Pultorak and he even took over Pultorak's farm.
"He would come down to our house, which is just down the street here, for Thanksgiving, for Easter, for Christmas," said Murray.
But he didn't know everything. A few piles are all that's left of a massive collection of pretty much everything Pultorak ever came in contact with, dated and cataloged. His friends say it's because he was frugal.
But buried underneath all of it was a secret worth about $1.5 million and it's now going to help a lot of people.
Pultorak left over $1.5 million of his estate in bonds and bank accounts buried in his house to St. Elizabeth's and Faxton-St. Luke's Hospitals. The hospitals say the donation was quite the surprise from a 'poor farmer.'
"This is certainly one of the very biggest we've ever received, if not the biggest," St. Elizabeth's Hospital President and CEO Richard Ketcham said.
St. Elizabeth's will get $500,000 and Faxton-St. Luke's $1 million. Both hospitals say if Pultorak were listening, they'd give him the same message.
"Thank you so much. The gift that he's giving us is just something that we cannot duplicate on a daily basis, certainly," Faxton-St. Luke's Hospital President and CEO Scott Perra said.
Who knew that buried under all this was a heart of gold, about $1.5 million worth?
Pultorak did have one condition that came with the donation: That a plaque be erected in both hospitals to honor his father, mother, brother and himself.