|Ocala, FL -
September 12, 2011|
Published in Ocala Star-Banner on Monday, September 12, 2011 at 5:32 p.m.
Not much is known about Bonnie Saupe, who left nearly $200,000 to the Marion County Sheriff's Office Foundation, as well as similar gifts to at least 16 other organizations, but foundation officials are deeply grateful for the endowment.
The sheriff's foundation was presented the first $100,000 installment — approximately half of the endowment — on Monday.
“We are very grateful. This is the first contribution from someone's estate. Right now she is unknown to us, but we would really like to find out more about this lady,” said Mary Callahan, president of the foundation, which was established in 2008.
Saupe did not have heirs when she died in 2010. Her obituary was two sentences long: “Bonnie was born on July 14, 1924, and passed away on Monday, October 18, 2010. Bonnie was a resident of Ocala, Florida,” according to an obituary posted on Tributes.com
Marion County public records are also light on details. Saupe and her husband, Karl, bought a home in the Wineberry community in 1993 and had a previous address in Hollywood, Fla.
Her estate was believed to be worth several million dollars and gifts also were left for other local organizations including United Way of Marion County, Ocala Fire Rescue, Ocala-Marion County Veterans Park, SPCA of Marion County, the St. Johns Lutheran Church Foundation and Munroe Regional Medical Center.
Saupe also left endowments to national organizations and to smaller groups in White Plains, N.Y., according to a copy of a letter sent to recipients by the Ocala law firm Dean and Dean, which is handling Saupe's estate.
A call to the offices of Dean and Dean was not immediately returned Monday.
“It is a wonderful gift. It will help us with so much,” Callahan said.
The sheriff's foundation was established to try and defer some of the costs incurred through the volunteer services provided by the agency. Those services include funeral escorts, citizen's watches and the mounted patrol unit. There are more than 1,500 volunteers serving in the Sheriff's Office, who work a combined average of 128,000 hours per year.
“We provide the cars and gas and any tack for the horses. The foundation helps pay for that support. All of those programs will be supplemented by this donation,” Undersheriff Dan Khun said.
The foundation had raised less than $100,000 since 2008, and that total included a donation of more than $25,000 in February 2010, raised during a local John Travolta movie premiere event.
Monday's installment of the Saupe endowment comes less than two weeks after Sheriff's Major Terry Bovaird was named the new liaison between the agency and the foundation. He took over for Dennis Strow, a former sheriff's major and current Williston police chief.
“My comment was, ‘I've only been here for two weeks and already got you $100,000.' But that's not true. It's the hard work they do that brings in any donations. They do all the heavy lifting,” Bovaird said.