One day in late 2003, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation received an unexpected letter. The piece of mail, which came from Alva attorney Edward Sutter, informed OMRF that Vera Mae Eversole had left the foundation half her estate.
But when OMRF staff consulted their files, they discovered that the foundation had no record of a Vera Mae Eversole. This gift, it turns out, would be Eversole’s first and last to OMRF. But what a gift it would be.
A former schoolteacher who’d spent most of her life in Alva, Eversole had lived frugally. She’d always generously taken care of her friends, her church and her beloved animals. But when it came to her own needs, other than a regular appointment at the hairdresser and an occasional new outfit, Eversole chose to save rather than spend.
Eversole died in 2003 at the age of 83. Unbeknownst to OMRF, she had included the foundation in her will for more than two decades. When the will was probated this spring, OMRF received half of Eversole’s estate. The estate had been ably managed by Sutter and Alva accountant Hal Brizzolara, who had been both Eversole’s friends and trusted advisors.
Thanks to Eversole’s philanthropy, OMRF now co-owns a 3,000-acre tract of land in Woods County and several smaller properties in Alva. In total, these properties and Eversole’s other assets are worth an estimated $3 million. This means that OMRF and the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation (which received the other half of Eversole’s estate) will each receive $1.5 million in property and assets.
“The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is extremely fortunate to count Vera Mae Eversole as a friend,” said OMRF President J. Donald Capra, M.D. “Like so many rural Oklahomans who have supported OMRF for over half a century, she gave generously and quietly. Every life-saving discovery at OMRF is a product of the kindness of donors like Vera Mae.”
At OMRF, proceeds from the sale and use of Eversole’s land, which has significant value both for its surface and mineral rights, will provide vital support for research programs at OMRF. And that, said Edward Sutter, is exactly what his friend and client desired.
“Vera Mae was a very generous person,” said Sutter. “She loved this state, and I know she would be pleased to see that her gift will benefit the health of all Oklahomans.”
Chartered in 1946, OMRF (www.omrf.org) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and curing human disease. Its scientists focus on such critical research areas as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, lupus and cardiovascular disease. OMRF is home to Oklahoma’s only member of the National Academy of Sciences.