Few friends of Raymond Suckling knew that he was a millionaire before his death. The retired mechanical engineer lived modestly in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, drove a used car, and liked re-reading dime-store novels from the 1960s.
Suckling was a veteran of WWII, and though he rarely let his friends pay for dinner on nights on the town, almost no one knew that he had inherited a moderate fortune from his father, the late CEO and Vice President of Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company.
“Others in his situation might have chosen a more extravagant lifestyle,” said Buddy Hallet, the son of Betty Hallet, who was a longtime companion of Suckling’s. “He was a good man.”
Suckling passed away in 2014 at the age of 93. It was announced on Wednesday, January 24th, 2018, that his will had left $37.1 million to the Pittsburgh Foundation for charitable causes in the Sewickley area.
It’s the second-largest gift ever given to the foundation, succeeded only by Charles Kaufman’s $50 million bequest in 2010. Kaufman and Suckling both retired from local chemical and materials company Koppers Co.
Suckling’s gift, which was finalized in December after some time stuck in probate difficulties, has been added to the Raymond C. and Martha S. Suckling Fund, established by him in ’93 in honor of his parents. He had previously contributed a little over half a million to the fund.
The new gift will be spread out for years to come at $1.5 million a year, split between the local library, the hospital, and the Pittsburgh Foundation’s 100 Percent Pittsburgh initiative, which allocates funds to local nonprofits for people in need.
“This is an extraordinary bequest from a truly extraordinary man,” said Maxwell King, the president and chief executive of the Pittsburgh Foundation.
Carolyn Toth, executive director of the Sewickley Library, called Suckling “Our own Andrew Carnegie.”