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Posted on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

47 years late: Toledo teacher's will giving $120,000 to U-M finally being fulfilled

By Kody Klein

Pauline Olga Emerson Burton's last wish, to donate about $120,000 to the University of Michigan is finally being fulfilled, almost five decades after her death, the Toledo Blade reported.

Burton died in 1965 and left a will giving the bulk of her estate to U-M. However, this wish was overlooked for decades until recently when the vice president of Fifth Third Private Bank Trust Department, Marsha Manahan, began investigating the bank statements and discovered Burton's forgotten last wishes.

Burton made specific requests that part of the donation be made to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and for student scholarships in Latin.

Kody Klein is an intern for Reach him at



Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 4:50 a.m.

Final will: I like to donate all mine and myself to UM medical research with only one condition, being honest to the scientific studies.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

If you want to do this, and it is important to you, make sure you get the agreement in writing from the University. My father wanted his body donated to a university for research. I think it was even written in his will. However, the university told me that he should have got an acceptance form filled out with the university. Without this signed form, the university would not take them.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 2:47 a.m.

I hope the Univ Mich Handsomely Paid Staff Attorneys will examine the issue of interest-to-be-paid by Fifth Third Bank. As her designated Trustee, they are legally obligated by their fiduciary duty to Read her Will and they didn't. Furthermore, Fifth Third Bank kept her money and invested and re-invested it for 47 years (which is what a fiduciary is legally bound to do). Regarding this particular fiduciary, their track record speaks for itself. i could add more, but will demur out of politeness.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 7:23 p.m.

I read this story and the Toledo Blade story. I must have missed the part that the bank was her Trustee. I did see the part that the money was in 3 different banks; and that her will had an executor who distributed the items in her will, and the will was filed with the state and considered completed. And I did see the part about the bank looking for an 'open' will waiting to be probated. Sounds like the executor did a lousy job, not the bank. I am just wondering where the statements that were mailed by the bank for 40+ years went to.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 1:18 a.m.

I think it would be interesting to see how many withdrawals were made after she passed away. Reads like someone forgot to include a couple of accounts on the asset inventory.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

Indeed a possibility. I would tend to look into the attorney mentioned in the Blade article. Apparently he know of assets that the executor did not. How much interest and how many withdrawals over 40+ years?


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 11:50 p.m.

$120,000 in 1965, adjusted for inflation, would be worth about $875,000 today.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 2:51 a.m.

I'm waiting to see if our "Champions of the West" highly paid UM staff atys will actually go after the bank . . .


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 1:30 a.m.

Great point Ken & DBH. Hopefully the bank will be on the hook for this! Believe me, it did not just sit for 40 years. The bank was "using" it to grow their portfolio. I am sure UofM will look into this.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 11:28 p.m.

Above should read $120,000. Sorry


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 11:23 p.m.

Is Fifth Third Bank obligated to pay interest on %12,000 compounded for five decades? That could enhance the amount of the gift.

Dog Guy

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 10:06 p.m.

Diis Manibus, Pauline Burton, tibi maximus gratias ago. Requiescat in pace.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 2:49 a.m.

Good try Dog; your grade is "C."