A Sensible, Unassuming – and Very Generous – Lady
Berlin’s Myrna Pauloz Leaves a Legacy that Surprises Even Her Closest of Friends
New Britain, Conn., (February 11, 2014) – By all accounts, Myrna Pauloz of Berlin was the quintessential practical woman – someone who shunned the spotlight, wore sensible shoes, saved for a rainy day, cared about others and received the greatest joy from life’s simplest of pleasures.
“Myrna was a very unassuming woman, she didn’t look for attention,” says Tina Doyle, director of the Berlin Senior Center where Myrna enjoyed taking part in activities and mingling with friends in the years before her passing at the age of 76 in September, 2012. “Sometimes people need to be fussed over, but not Myrna. She was very reserved, very polite, always properly dressed.
“And she would always seek you out at the end of the day to make sure you knew just how appreciative she was.”
Yes, Myrna Pauloz was one to be thankful for the life she led and the little, day-to-day things that made it special. But Tina and the rest of Myrna’s friends could never have guessed just how capable their very conservative, very reserved friend was of showing that gratitude.
The Berlin Senior Center has been named one of four local organizations that will reap the unexpected benefit of Myrna’s boundless gratitude. The Center and the Hospital of Central Connecticut are the beneficiaries of two new designated funds at the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain established through bequests from Myrna’s estate, the Myrna M. Pauloz Berlin Senior Center Fund, and the Myrna M. Pauloz Hospital of Central Connecticut, New Britain Campus Fund. Myrna also made direct gifts to the Berlin Historical Society and the Berlin Lions Club from an estate that totaled approximately $2 million.
“We were shocked when we learned about this gift,” says Doyle, who says that Myrna especially enjoyed the Senior Center’s Lunch Bunch trips to area restaurants and their musical entertainment programming. “I grew up here in town, my parents grew up here in town, and I don’t think anyone realized that Myrna was a woman of means and was in a position to make such generous gifts.”
“She had sold her family’s property on Savage Hill (in Berlin) some years back so I knew that she had some money, but I don’t think anyone really knew the extent of it,” says Elvina Pucci, Myrna’s closest of friends who would ride to the Senior Center – with Myrna as chauffeur – most days during the week. “She didn’t discuss such things, and she certainly didn’t act like she was someone with money.
”Myrna was such a good person, very nice, I miss her terribly,” says Elvina. “She was so good to me and I would try to give her little gifts to thank her, but she would never accept. Even after we couldn’t go to the Senior Center anymore, she would call me every night to see how I was.
“That’s the kind of person she was.”
Myrna, according to her nephew and the executor of her estate, New Britain CPA Ralph Beveridge, was “born on Savage Hill and she died on Savage Hill.” She was from the Morse farming family, which owned farmland for decades on Savage Hill Road. The Morse Farm was a chicken farm, and the farm also included vast cornfields across Rt. 372 in East Berlin where the Stony Mill condominiums stand today.
According to Kate Kearns of the Berlin Historical Society, the family – along with Myrna’s mother’s family, the Nyes – has roots dating back in Connecticut to the 1600s and in the East Berlin area to the mid-1800s.
Born in Berlin in 1935, Myrna was valedictorian of her Berlin High School graduating class of 1953, and was a bookkeeper at Skinner Chuck Company in New Britain until her marriage to Alfred Pauloz in 1968. Her parents were Myron and Ruby (Nye) Morse, who was a member of the Berlin Historical Society in its formative years during the 1960s. Her father Myron was active with the Berlin Lions.
Beveridge says that Myrna and Alfred – who lived in a small ranch house further up the road on Savage Hill from the original Morse Farm homestead – loved gardening and traveling to the many state fairs throughout the area in the fall. “She didn’t fly, so that was her pleasure,” he says. “She loved her large garden, and I recall at family picnics she and Uncle Alfred would always bring their baskets overflowing with tomatoes and vegetables for everyone to enjoy.”
Beveridge, as executor, says he was very aware that Myrna held a sizable estate, but even he did not know of Myrna’s plans for that estate until the last hours before she died.
“She was very independent,” he says. “I brought up to her the fact that she did not have a will and I finally got her to address it. But she was the one who found an attorney and did it all on her own.”
That attorney, Dennis Kern of Kern and Kern, LLC, of Berlin, sat with Myrna to draft her will only weeks before her passing.
“She called me into her home and it was clear from the start that she wanted to think charitably,” says Attorney Dennis Kern. “She really had these choices already in mind, and I’m very proud of this because I think more people should give credence to charity when they prepare their will.
“The organizations she chose were important to her,” he adds. “And the gifts she made were not only generous, but well thought out and with specific intent. In the case of the hospital and senior center funds, she wanted the gifts to be spread out over time, and the Community Foundation is a wonderful choice for this kind of bequest.”
Established in 1941, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain connects donors who care with causes that matter in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. It does this by raising resources and developing partnerships that make a measurable improvement in the quality of life in each of these communities. For more information, visit www.cfgnb.org.