HE LIKED HIKING and biking. John Wayne movies. Bacon. Collecting stamps. Vacationing in Mexico. Playing cards.
Robert L. Crandall, as described in his January 2021 obituary, seems a man of many interests. He also spoke Spanish fluently. He watched CNBC to stay updated on the stock market. And, also worth noting in the Parker Kohl Funeral Home summary of his life, Bob “spent many hours at the Buckham Memorial Library studying and reading books on investing.”
It is that final notation of his interests which today holds great significance. This week my community of Faribault learned that Bob left a financial gift of $2.5-$2.7 million to Buckham Memorial Library. The place where he found books that helped him make sound, and lucrative, financial investments.
His is a remarkable gift. Not due only to the mega amount of millions of dollars, but also because of Bob’s appreciation for library resources housed in his beloved local library. He directed that his gift be used specifically for public library purposes in Faribault.
Like Bob, I’ve long valued libraries given my love of books and reading. However, unlike Bob, I’ve never read a single volume on investments. But, via reading, I’ve learned much about the craft of writing. My son, too, learned the basics of software coding by studying thick books checked out from Buckham Library. Today he is pursuing his PhD in computer science.
Clearly, Bob recognized the importance of public libraries. I’d like to think he understood that libraries make knowledge accessible to all of us. No matter our education, our income, our anything. As a child living near a rural southwestern Minnesota community without a public library, I longed for a library. Today I live blocks away from Buckham Library and frequent it often. My daughters worked there as pages while in high school.
Bob attended high schools in Anoka (his birthplace) and Elk River, eventually landing in southern Minnesota to work at the former Faribault Regional Center. His obit mentions nothing of family, only that his parents preceded him in death. He died in January at age 93 with graveside services and burial at Maple Lawn Cemetery.
The obituary describing Bob reveals a man with multiple interests and with many friends at his final home, Milestone Senior Living in Faribault. His obit hints of financial wealth through the lens of hindsight. I expect, though, that Bob counted his wealth not primarily via the success of his investments, but by the wealth of his interests and by the wealth of words printed in books shelved at his local library.
Through his generous gift to Buckham Memorial Library, Bob inspires us to learn, to read, to discover how books can enlighten and change our lives, grow our knowledge. And that, too, is his legacy.
© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Source credits: Parker Kohl Funeral Home & the Faribault Daily News
What a beautiful and generous gift from a man rich beyond wealth. I too love libraries. Love your post of his life story.
I fully agree that Bob’s $2.7 million gift is beautiful and generous. Thank you for appreciating him and his gift to my local library.
I shared your post. My friend wrote back just two words”beautiful soul.”
Thank you for sharing my post and your friend’s lovely and fitting comment.
I love that we both blogged about libraries today. I wrote a long comment on yours (which included a link). Not sure you got it. If not, I commented about the Little Free Library in my hometown and included the following link to the story behind it:
Your comment was in the “pending” folder as it had the link? Thank you so much Audrey. It’s there now so all can read and follow link. I’m going to go read it now❤️
Thank you, Ruth. Readers, please follow this link to read Ruth’s post about a Little Free Library she found at a bus stop:
OMW – such a Generous Gift to the Community 🙂 Happy Reading, Learning, & Adventuring – Happy Weekend – Enjoy!
Yes, what a generous gift. I look forward to seeing how the library uses Bob’s generous gift.
You will have to keep us updated on how his generous gift is used. More books for all, programs, technology, etc. Many possibilities.
I will try to remember to do that. The possibilities seem endless.
The gift should keep the library going for some time.
Yes, it should. So generous of Bob.
That is one generous gift!
I, too, am interested in how it is used.
I know, from reading an article in The Daily News, that the library director has started a list. I’m sure plenty of people will provide input.
Wow what a wonderful gift to the community! Think of all the people he will now influence through books with his noble donation. We could use a few more selfless people like Bob in this world!
I agree. We need more people like Bob Crandall. What a legacy he leaves to my community of Faribault.
Such a generous and thoughtful gift…an example of giving back to a place that meant so much to him. The Library is a beautiful building. It would be neat to hear what the library intends to do with the gifted money.
Our library is a beautiful building, a gift from the Buckham family. And, yes, I will try to update here with how Bob’s generous gift is used.
What an amazing man. As a librarian, this is an incredible and thoughtful gift.
I agree. Amazing. Incredible. Thoughtful.