Frugal farmer leaves estate to church

Dec. 8, 2008 at 6:06 PM
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HOPEWELL, Pa., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A pastor in Hopewell, Pa, says he was stunned to learn a frugal parishioner left his tiny church an estate worth $2.2 million.

Burrell farmer John F. Ferguson was known as an unpretentious man who wore faded overalls and lived in a mobile home surrounded by old farm equipment, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Monday.

No one in the congregation had any idea Ferguson had money, apparently made from smart investments in stock and energy, said the Rev. Jason L. McQueen, pastor of the 80-member Hopewell United Methodist Church, which lacks even a telephone answering machine.

The bequest had been in probate the last two years, though McQueen said his congregation is determined not to go on a spending spree now that the money is in church coffers.

Ferguson, who lived on a 240-acre farm and never married, died Jan. 31, 2007, of respiratory and heart problems, the newspaper said.

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