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Astor Will Bequeaths $10,000 to Briarcliff Church

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – After a five-year-long legal battle regarding her will, former Briarcliff Manor millionaire philanthropist Brooke Astor will be able to say one last thank you to All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Briarcliff Manor and Trinity Episcopal Church in Ossining.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced last week a settlement had been reached “allowing $100 million that had been in limbo to start flowing to charities.” Officials with the vestries for All Saints’ and Trinity confirmed Sunday Astor bequeathed $10,000 apiece to the churches in the will. Astor passed away in 2007 at the age of 105. She frequently attended both churches in Briarcliff and Ossining and supported both organizations through previous donations, officials said Sunday.

Church officials said they were honored to find out about the donations and said they will take the time and care to make sure the money is spent as Astor would’ve intended.

“It’s brought a lot of joy to our congregation to know that we were remembered by a wonderful woman and a great philanthropist,” said All Saints’ Rev. Yejide Peters. “We’re looking forward very much to discussing how that money might be used.”

The church’s nine-member governing body is set to discuss how to use the donation during its next monthly meeting and Peters said she hopes the vestry would make a decision before June.

Trinity Warden Tamsen Hernández said Sunday she was very pleased the church would receive the money soon “after such a long time.”

“As with all churches, the money can always be used for outreach and we’re always very happy to receive money but this is certainly special and will mean a lot to our church,” Hernández said. “I think it’s really nice to be remembered in the same will that honored the Metropolitan and the U.N.. But it was really nice to be remembered by such an important and wonderful person.” 

Those who knew her, said Astor was a very gracious and giving person who gave a lot to many people while she lived in Briarcliff Manor.

“She was someone who always had a smile on her face when she would come to the church,” said All Saints’ parishioner Ellen Wales, who developed a friendship with Astor after a chance encounter at the church nearly 20 years ago. “She was an absolutely gracious and very giving woman who never said an unkind word about anyone in all the years I knew her.”

All Saints' volunteer groundskeeper and parishioner Ken Halajian said he knows the money will be very helpful to the church.

“We were certainly aware of the possibility that we might receive something and I’m certainly glad that we did and I think it will definitely come in handy and mean a lot to a lot of people in the church,” he said. “She was a wonderful lady and I think everyone that met her has great memories of her.”

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