A former Washington State Patrol trooper and his wife who never had children have left their life savings to Columbia Basin College.
The estates of Duane and Katy Smith donated $618,000 to the Pasco-based school.
“They were just very proud of Pasco and wanted to support CBC,” Patty Jones, planned giving and outreach specialist for the CBC Foundation, told the Herald.
Large gifts to the college aren’t unheard of, but most come from former students or people with some CBC connection.
But foundation and college officials said they don’t know of any link between CBC and the Smiths other than the couple highly valued education.
Duane Smith was a World War II veteran who became a WSP trooper, and then went on to work as a fuel truck driver for Standard Oil. He died in 2012 when he was 90.
Katy Smith was valedictorian of her class in Cle Elum and a homemaker. She died in 2013 at the age of 86. They were married for 65 years.
Jones said the attorney who moved the bequest through the legal process didn’t know the couple.
“The only other things we know is they lived on 20th Avenue and golfed at Sun Willows Golf Course a lot,” she said.
The foundation will use the bequest to pay for scholarships, support academic programs and meet other needs of the college.
The bequest is the largest the college has received in several years.
Jerry Thornton, a Tri-City landlord who graduated from CBC in the ’70s and was cared for by nurses trained by the college, left $1.3 million in 2012.
And Eugene “Buck” Poteete, a Hanford pipefitter, and his wife Jessie, gave $840,000 after developing a friendship with a CBC trustee.