Chaffee schools still waiting for promised $1.6 million gift

Thursday, January 11, 2007

CHAFFEE, Mo. -- One year ago, Chaffee Public School Foundation officials were thrilled by the prospect of receiving a $1.6 million donation from the estate of the late Garth Briggs, a Chaffee High School graduate.

Today, foundation officials are still waiting to receive the money.

The largest single donation in the foundation's eight-year existence remains tied up in legal proceedings, as it was a year ago.

"It is still in litigation," said Jean Whitaker, who heads the foundation. "That is really sad."

She said correspondence from lawyers in the case indicate that the foundation will receive the money, although she doesn't know when. The litigation, she said, appears to be routine court proceedings dealing with the administration of the estate.

"We are thrilled, and we will be thrilled," she said Tuesday.

The donation will provide scholarships primarily for students who intend to pursue a vocational or technical education, Whitaker said. "His top priority was scholarships," she said of Briggs' desire to leave part of his fortune to his old high school.

Class of 1935

Briggs, who graduated from Chaffee High School in 1935, owned a tool manufacturing business in Ohio. He had no children.

He lived in Springfield, Ohio, for 30 years. He was living in Florida when he died May 5, 2005, from an apparent stroke. He left behind a multimillion-dollar estate.

The bequest honors Briggs' mother and father, Marie and G.Q. Briggs. G.Q. Briggs was a locomotive engineer in the days when Chaffee was primarily a railroad town.

Briggs' brother, Lloyd Briggs of Benton, Ky., told the Southeast Missourian last January that the legal proceedings are routine. Lloyd Briggs, a former circuit judge in Scott County, died July 30.

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