How a mother’s vision loss became a son’s legacy

How one man’s mother’s vision loss inspired him to name Perkins School for the Blind as a beneficiary of his estate.

Morning sun rays filtering through a tree casting shadows over grass.

Edward Allen, or Ed, as his family called him, enjoyed the simple pleasures of life from walks in the woods to spending time with his sister and mother. Due to the impact Perkins had on his mother’s later years, when the time came to draw his own estate plans, Ed could only think of a couple of beneficiaries. This is the story of why Ed chose to leave a legacy at Perkins.

Ed’s lifetime of service

Ed served in the Air Force for 20 years and was deployed to Vietnam, and then Europe. “He said he always lived in the barracks for the camaraderie and meals,” Ed’s attorney, Denise shared. When he finished his service, he returned home to Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Although Ed never married or had kids, he remained close with his family.

Sadly, his brother passed away in the 1970s, which led Ed to move to Wayland, Massachusetts to be closer to his sister, Vera, and his mother, Myrtle. He loved taking long walks in the woods with Vera, and together they looked after their mother who was losing her vision. Since Myrtle was an avid reader, losing her vision meant she wouldn’t be able to enjoy her favorite pastime.

Ed and Vera arranged to receive books on tape. Ed saw his mother’s life improve now that books were a part of her life again. This relationship between Myrtle and the Perkins Library lasted until the end of her life.

Ed often spoke of how grateful he was to Perkins for bringing books back into his mother’s life.”

Denise, Ed’s attorney

Leaving a legacy at Perkins

Ed and his family lived humbly and enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. He and Vera continued their long walks in the woods, often pointing out the different birds along their path. When Ed reached out to Denise to begin planning his will, he knew he wanted to name Perkins as one of the two beneficiaries of his estate. As a lover of reading, his mother’s life was greatly enriched through the services provided by Perkins Library.

Ed is an old man with gray white hair. He sits in a brown wood chair, wearing a light blue button down, a red cap, and bronze-colored boxing gloves. Ed smiles with his arms raised in fight mode. His blue walker is parked behind him.

At Perkins, we are honored to have such a deep and lasting impact on so many people’s lives, and in this case, Perkins Library made a tremendous difference to Ed and his mother Myrtle. The  Library serves more than 22,000 patrons, and has more than a million accessible print and audio books, newspapers, and publications.  This is a free service to anyone in New England who is unable to read traditional print.

A legacy gift, also called a planned gift, gives hope that lasts beyond a single lifetime, and makes it possible for critical services like the Perkins Library to continue its life-changing work. Because of this incredible support of the Allen family, Perkins is able to continue providing these life changing services. 

By designating Perkins School for the Blind as the beneficiary in your will, trust, retirement plan, life insurance policy or other types of deferred giving arrangements, you can make the future brighter for people of all ages with multiple, complex disabilities and visual impairments — today and for years to come.

Please visit our resource page for more information on how you can include Perkins in your will or estate plans and how to get in contact with us.

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