Wednesday, August 02, 2000

Organizations benefit from $13.2 million gift

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A pair of Cincinnati geologists who devoted their lives to nature preservation and education have left a $13.2 million bequest to some of their favorite causes.

        Major beneficiaries of the bequest from the late Richard and Lucile Durrell are the Edge of Appalachia Preserve System in Adams County, the Cincinnati Nature Center and the Ohio and Kentucky chapters of the Nature Conservancy.

(Tony Jones photo)
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        “It's an amazing legacy,” said Beth Reiter of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, which will manage the bequest — the largest amount willed to the foundation since it was formed in 1963.

        During their lifetime, the couple, who lived in Clifton and Mount Airy, worked as a team in conservation and education efforts.

        Mr. Durrell, an Avondale native, taught geolo gy at UC from 1946 to 1985. He was involved in many of the causes his estate will benefit, the foundation said.

        Lucile Miller Durrell, a native of Fort Thomas, was a nature conservation activist and geologist who earned bachelor's and master's degrees at UC. She worked as a librarian and laboratory assistant in the UC geology department.

        The Richard and Lucile Durrell Museum of Geology at UC was named in their honor.

        Mr. Durrell died in 1994; his wife in 1998. The bequest was finalized in June, but specific amounts that will be given to each of the beneficiaries was not disclosed.

        Bill Hopple, executive director for the Cincinnati Nature Center, said the magnitude of the bequest came as a surprise.

        “This provides permanent operating income,” he said. “Most nonprofits are constantly challenged to balance their budg ets.”

        The center is already receiving payments, Mr. Hopple said, though he would not disclose a sum. Some of the money will be used toward youth education programs, such as the center's one-week day summer camps at the 790-acre Rowe Woods near Milford.

        The Cincinnati Museum Center will use the money bequeathed to its Edge of Appalachia Preserve System for upkeep at the 13,000-acre preserve about 80 miles east of Cincinnati, said Meg Olberding of the center.

        Other organizations that will benefit from the bequest are: the Cincinnati Zoo; Civic Garden Center; Hamilton County Park District; Historic Southwest Ohio; Lloyd Library; United Methodist Committee on Relief; University of Cincinnati Geology Department; Wesley Hall and scholarships at Centre College in Danville, Ky.; and Wilmington College.


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