GOULDSBORO — The sweetest act of philanthropy is often the one that comes quietly and unexpectedly, such as the recent generous bequests by the late Jeremy Strater.
Strater, an avid bluegrass and folk musician who would not take offense at being characterized as “eccentric,” died Feb. 2 of lung cancer. He was 70.
A true child of the ’60s, he lived modestly in a worn but lovely home on Taft Point Road once owned by his late mother, Janet Strater, a successful department store model.
His late father, Henry “Mike” Strater, was a Lost Generation painter who counted F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway among his friends.
The personal representative for Strater’s estate, Andy Sankey, said Strater lived simply and invested his assets and an inheritance wisely.
Strater gifted $2 million to entities ranging from the town of Gouldsboro and the Peninsula School to non-profit organizations in other communities.
The bequests do not include an earlier gift to Frenchman Bay Conservancy in the fall of 2014 of 65 acres and a half mile of water frontage adjacent to Strater’s home.
“This was his greatest gift, his lasting legacy,” said Sankey. “It’s all about public access to the water.”
The conservancy plans to build two half-mile hiking trails on the new Taft Point Preserve land on Flanders Bay and Jones Cove.
Sankey said Strater spent the months before his death deciding what organizations would benefit most from a monetary gift.
“He simply asked some of his confidants, ‘What do you think are good causes and good outfits and what are their needs?’” Sankey said.
Sankey said the bequests are pending a full settling of the estate through the probate process.
The gifts include in order of magnitude and excluding the conservancy land:
–The Eleanor Widener Dixon Memorial Clinic, $300,000, to be used if possible for digital x-ray equipment or upgrades and improvements.
–Schoodic Arts for All, $300,000, to administer programs and maintain its facilities.
–The town of Gouldsboro, $250,000, to create a reserve fund to be disbursed by the Board of Selectmen as needed to serve the health, education and welfare of Gouldsboro residents.
–The Maine Community Foundation, $200,000, for the Downeast Scholarship Fund.
–The Maine Community Foundation, $180,000, to the Schoodic Community Fund for programs benefitting residents of the Schoodic area.
–Peninsula School, $100,000, for instruction in art, music, science lab, GIS mapping and environmental studies.
–The Emmaus Center in Ellsworth, $50,000 to benefit the homeless.
–The Museum of American Art in Ogunquit, $50,000.
–The American Folk Festival, Bangor, $40,000.
–The College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, $40,000 for scholarships for Maine residents.
–The Maine Public Broadcasting Network, $40,000.
–The Maine Seacoast Mission, Bar Harbor, $40,000 for the EdGE program.
–The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, $40,000.
–The Schoodic Institute, Winter Harbor, $40,000.
–WERU radio, East Orland, $40,000.
–The Good Shepherd Food Bank, Brewer, $30,000.
–The Schoodic Sculpture Symposium, $30,000.
–The University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Hancock County, $30,000.
–The Ashville Community Church, Sullivan, $20,000.
–Camp CaPella, Dedham, $20,000.
–The Caring Hands of Maine Dental Center, Ellsworth, $20,000.
–The Galen Cole Family Foundation, Bangor, for protection of children, $20,000.
–The Grand, Ellsworth, $20,000 for programs creating theatrical and musical opportunities for children through 12th grade
–The Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, Ellsworth, $20,000.
–The University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Machias, $20,000.
–Friends in Action, Ellsworth, $10,000.
–Gouldsboro Historical Society, $10,000.
–Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County, $10,000, to reimburse expenses incurred by its volunteers.
–The West Gouldsboro Village Improvement Association, $10,000.
–The Maine Farmland Trust, $10,000.
–The Maine Downeast Equine Large Animal Society, $5,000 for care of abused animals.
–Dorcas Library, $5,000.