With Legacy, Arts Score at Bolton Central School
A legacy to the Bolton Central School from the estate of Fred and Erika Uhl, summer residents of Edgecomb Pond Road for two decades, will yield as much as $600,000 in funds for art programs and arts-related scholarships at the school, says Ray Ciccarelli, the school superintendent.
“Mrs. Uhl died in 2002, and according to the stipulations in her will, those funds can only be used for arts related programs. The money can’t go into a general fund to be used to reduce property taxes or for any other purpose. If it’s a problem for the School Board to determine the specifics of how the funds will be used, it’s a nice problem to have,” said Ciccarelli.
The Uhls left no money to any relatives or heirs, but, rather, divided their assets between Bolton Central School and charities in Rockland County, where they lived the remainder of the year.
“We’re very grateful for the legacy, considering the fact that the couple spent only part of the year here,” said Ciccarelli. “We’re pleased they thought highly enough of this community to want to support it.”
Ciccarelli credits Ted Caldwell, a longtime Bolton Central School teacher who knew the Uhls, with securing the legacy.
Caldwell said he was as surprised as anyone to learn that the Uhls had left a portion of their estate to the Bolton Central School.
“I certainly never suggested to them that they provide for Bolton Central School in their wills. In fact, most of our conversations about the school were sparked by their complaints about their property taxes. They thought we were spending too much money to educate too few students. I tried to convince them otherwise,” said Caldwell. “I do, however, remember talking about scholarships and about the kids who needed help. Nevertheless, it surprised me that Erika was as generous as she was.”
According to Caldwell, Erika Uhl was a refugee from post-war Germany who found work in Manhattan’s garment district.
“Fred Uhl was an engineer with Dutch Petroleum. After his first wife died, he married Erika. He had vacationed for years on Schroon Lake and they decided they wanted to build a house in the Adirondacks, which they did in 1983. They spent most of their weekends here,” said Caldwell.
Caldwell said Fred Uhl was a talented amateur photographer and that Erika Kuhl was engaged in several arts and crafts.
“She not only made her clothes but his,” Caldwell recalled. “She also became interested in ceramics and in making dolls.”
Fred Uhl predeceased his wife, and although Erika Uhl died more than ten years ago, it has taken this long for the estate to be settled and the will probated, said Cicarelli.
“Among the problems was the fact that Erika Uhl left money to ‘the Bolton Landing High School.’ Our lawyer, Monica Duffy, was able to prove to the judge that the funds were intended for the Bolton Central School,” said Ciccarelli.
Ted Caldwell said he hoped the funds could be dedicated to the construction of an auditorium, which could also be used by the community.
Ciccarelli said the School Board will develop a Strategic Plan for the use of the funds.
“I’m confident the public will be invited to participate in that planning process,” said Ciccarelli.