Mystery couple donates big money to preserve history
MERRILL (WAOW) -- The Merrill Historical Society found itself in the will of a couple many in the city never met.
"We were told we were in the will, but we didn't know what that meant exactly," Merrill Historical Society President Bea Lebal said.
Paul and Laura Ebert lived in Presque Isle, WI. Paul was a manufacturing manager and Laura was an avid antiquer. But, there are no pictures of the couple on the walls of the historical society. In part, because they had never stepped inside.
"We had met Laura. Paul had died. But at least we had that contact," Lebal said.
But last year Laura passed away. Leaving behind a $200,000 donation. A donation marked specifically for the Merrill Historical Society.
"We couldn't believe it. We were so happy," Lebal said. "We feel it will not only energize our board of directors but the community as well."
But why the couple chose Merrill is a mystery.
"There is nothing written down to explain why. Apparently they had fond memories of Merrill," Lebal said.
Now, the memory of the Ebert's will live on permenantly. The society plans to use the money for expansion, and break ground in the spring.
"I wish they could see what they have helped us accomplish," Lebal said. "Laura died before we could meet them. That is the real tragedy of the story."