CORAL GABLES, Fla. – A 100-year-old woman who quietly amassed a vast fortune before her death last year left $35.6 million to local diabetes and cancer research.
Eugenia Dodson donated two-thirds of the money to the University of Miami’s Diabetes Research Institute, the largest gift in its 35-year history. The rest goes to the university’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“She didn’t want any recognition in her lifetime, so she directed her lawyer to keep it confidential,” said Dr. W. Jarrard Goodwin, director of the Sylvester Center. “I told her people would be grateful. She said, ’No, I don’t want anyone to know.”’
Dodson lost part of a lung to cancer, and her two brothers died from complications to diabetes, according to Donald Kubit, co-trustee of her fund.
Dodson’s husband had held a stake in a limestone quarry, which went to her after his death in 1949. While she could have afforded a more lavish lifestyle, she instead saved money by living in a small condo and refusing in-home care until she was nearly 100, Kubit said.
“She denied herself the trappings of wealth. She was dead-set on doing good for humankind,” Kubit said. “She had a big heart.”