Frugal Florida Couple Leaves $4.5 Million to Charity

Hudson and Edith Marhoff, a Florida couple who lived in a mobile home, have left nearly $4.5 million to charity after scrimping and saving for decades, the Associated Press reports.

Earl Slosberg, their financial adviser for the past twelve years, helped the Marhoffs transform their life savings of $800,000 into the fortune that he will distribute to eight charities at the end of the month. Checks from the couple's estate ranging in size from $400,000 to $600,000 will be sent to the Florida United Methodist Children's Home, Hospice, the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, a spouse abuse shelter, and a school. Edith Marhoff died in October at the age of 81. Hudson, a retired engineer, passed away in 1993 at the age of 83. The Marhoffs had no children.

The couple continued their frugal ways, including driving slowly to save gas, shopping at church rummage sales, and taking food home from buffet restaurants to make another meal, even after they became millionaires. After her husband's death, Mrs. Marhoff shared a newspaper with two other women. She also refused to touch their savings, even for health reasons. Slosberg said it took him two years to convince her to buy an electric wheelchair after she had a stroke.

"She just was very frugal," said Ruth Fanovich, a registered nurse who cared for Mrs. Marhoff for the past five years. "It took me a long time to get her to understand she had money, and that it would take her a thousand years to spend."

"Frugal Largo Couple Bequeaths Millions to Charities." South Florida Sun-Sentinel 01/14/2002.