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Give the Gospel for Christmas

A Fruitful Life

TEAM recently received a rather large bequest from a woman named Doris Sundberg from Seattle, WA. This letter, submitted by her neighbor and friend, tells of a woman who lived a modest and frugal life, but who wanted what she had to continue to be used “in a fruitful way” even after her death. She did not have a lot to give financially during her life, but with her home-going, her bequest will be used for God’s kingdom. She continues to bear fruit!


Dear TEAM,

Thank you for your note about Doris Sundberg, who left your organization a sizable bequest. I am her next-door neighbor who one day several years ago signed up to be her Power of Attorney.

I have known Doris for over 70 years, although I have not been here that whole time, but inherited my house recently and moved back in. Little did I know how much time and energy I would spend handling her estate.

Doris was a quiet, single woman, an only child who lived her entire life in the same house until quite recently. She never married, never traveled, and had no living relatives. She worked for the City of Seattle, but took an early retirement. A religious woman, Doris – with her parents – attended a small Covenant church, but it disbanded and was not available for her last few years. About two years ago, Doris had a fall and I had to put her in a nursing home. She had been quite healthy until her late 80s.

You may think that Doris was a wealthy person, but quite the contrary. She had very little money and lived in an unbelievably frugal way. However, she did have an insurance policy that helped pay for her nursing home, along with her very modest pension and some small annuities. Believe me, she had very little! Another neighbor and I visited Doris regularly and did all we could to make her stay at this Center comfortable.

When I knew that she would not be coming back home, I had to clean the house out and sell it. And here’s the rub: our neighborhood has become a very valuable location these last years, and I got a very good price for her very old and extremely modest little house.

Doris never knew that the house was sold, and even more, there was nothing that I could buy for her with her new money – oh there was the expensive new hearing aid (didn’t really help), a few clothes, some candy – but that’s it! She was increasingly unable to connect with anything and finally slipped away last Christmas Eve.

Doris was a very sweet person, a devoted Christian woman; she would be happy to know that you will be using her bequest in a fruitful way.


Patricia Griswold
Seattle, WA

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