Frugal Man Leaves $175,000 Legacy to Coleman

Dec 18, 2020 | Uncategorized

Carl A. Neff, a quiet Streetsboro man, surprises organization leaders with bequests from estate

This article was adapted with permission from an article by Bob Gaetjens in the Record Courier newspaper.  

A quiet man, the late Carl A. Neff, of Streetsboro, who died in November of 2019 at age 97, lived a frugal life. This enabled his estate to leave $175,000 to Coleman Professional Services.

As an employee with Republic Steel and the Akron Public Water System, Neff lived for decades in a home he and his family built just north of Kennedy Road on Route 43 in Streetsboro.

Jeremy Baynes, who was Neff’s longtime financial adviser, said it was in Neff’s character to make large donations to causes he believed in.

“Carl was very generous with his money,” said Baynes. “He had given tens of thousands of dollars to other organizations, as well. What I loved about Carl was, he was so polite, always a gentleman.”

According to Neff’s attorney, John Flynn, without any sons and daughters, Neff, whose wife, Marjorie, preceded him in death, didn’t immediately know what he would do with any money that would be left over after his death.

Flynn said he outlined what some of the non-profit organizations in Portage County do and left it to Neff to choose among them where he donated his money.

“I typically wouldn’t include a charity where his donation would be a drop in the bucket,” said Flynn, who added the situation was an unusual one for him. That left out large, national charities that raise millions in donations every year. “You don’t see gifts like that from people who live a very frugal life, and you don’t see that many gifts like that from people who are wealthy.”

Nelson Burns, chief executive officer of Coleman Professional Services, said he was shocked when he heard about Neff’s bequest.

“At this point we’d like to spend it on residential support in Portage County since he’s from Portage County,” said Burns, adding the decision on how to spend the money isn’t finalized. “Our clients are constantly being threatened with eviction because they can’t pay rent or they’re laid off.”

He said the money also could go to utility assistance. If clients begin missing utility payments, he said the cost can quickly snowball if utility companies hike the interest rate as a penalty for missing a payment.

With COVID-19 handicapping non-profit organizations’ fundraising efforts, a hefty bequest like this is well-timed, he added.

“It’s a lifesaver right now,” said Burns. “Fundraising this year has been especially challenging.”

The entire Coleman organization is grateful for Mr. Neff’s contribution.

Every contribution counts. There are many ways to give: cash, stock, IRA rollover, life insurance, donor advised fund, bequest, or creating your own fundraiser. Coleman Professional Services is recognized by the IRS as tax exempt under IRC section 501(c)(3).