ADRIAN - Vera Malone probably never stepped foot in the Adrian Public Library, but the late Detroit area woman's generosity will touch the lives of library users in future years.
Mrs. Malone, who died at the age of 92 in April, 2007, left nearly $79,000 of her estate to the library to purchase books.
The bequest was made in honor of the late Lee and Ruth Hastings, who lived in Adrian for many years.
Lee Hastings, a mechanical engineer and avid reader who frequently went to the library, was Mrs. Malone's brother.
"This was quite a surprise," said Carol Souchock, library director. "This is a very generous donation and very unexpected."
Mrs. Malone, who was a teacher and librarian, also left money from her estate to other institutions, libraries, and charities.
The Lenawee Humane Society in Adrian, the Michigan Cancer Foundation, Salvation Army of Detroit, Friends of Detroit Public Library, and American Heart Association of Michigan received bequests from the estate.
Wayne State University, where Mrs. Malone attended college and received her teaching certificate, was endowed with $50,000 to be used for academic scholarships and given to students pursuing careers in education.
Bonnie Tancredi, executive director of Lenawee Humane Society, said a gift of $79,371 was given last year to the nonprofit organization. The money, at Mrs. Malone's request, will be used for stray and unwanted animals that are cared for at the shelter.
Mr. Hastings was 63 years old when he died in 1979. A graduate of Wayne State University, he was a civil engineer at Krieghoff-Lenawee, a construction company in Adrian.
An active member of the community, he was on the Adrian Planning Commission and the board of the Lenawee Humane Society.
Mr. and Mrs. Hastings and Mrs. Malone and her husband had no children.
Hazel Leonard, who was a close friend of the Hastings couple and Mr. Hasting's coworker at the construction firm, recalled Mr. Hastings as being meticulous in his job.
She said he would regularly borrow about eight to 10 books weekly from the library. "He loved to read," Ms. Leonard said. "He used the library all the time. He would be pleased that the money was given to the library."
Mrs. Malone taught for Detroit Public Schools for 36 years. She kept a winter home in Arizona with her husband after retiring in 1974.
Mrs. Souchock said the money will be used to purchase books for young readers.
The library is undergoing a renovation and expansion project that is on schedule to be completed next spring.
The donation will be used to buy books to fill the extra space.
"This is really a blessing for that," she said.