ELBA, Ala. (WDHN) — Born in 1922, the late Catherine Brunson Luening grew up in Elba before graduating
Judson College and moving to New York City in 1944.
She married renowned composer, Otto Luening and they would both spent the rest of their lives teaching music. Catherine taught 55 years at the prestigious Spence School in Manhattan.
In a reception in her honor at the Elba public library, it was announced that her estate left the public library and the cemetery, Evergreen, each more than $400,000.
“She was one of four daughters, they were all home-schooled,” Luening’s nephew, David Sparks said. “They were all taught the values of family, education, how to be open and accepting. Her legacy of these gifts, she wanted to give back to her hometown, her home community.”
Several of the couples former colleagues came to honor the thier memory.
Elba Public Library Board Member, Jack Brunson says when he first learned about the donation to the library and cemetery he could hardly believe it.
“This is huge, we now have money in the bank Mr. Chairman and Miss. Librarian. We are very excited,” Brunson said. “We’re thankful for our very nice library and the people who have made it over the years.”
Catherine Brunson began a retirement account during World War II. She would hardly touch the account while she taught until she was 96-years-old. Surprisingly, it would generate more than a million dollars over 75 years.
At this time, the donations to the library and cemetery will be held in trust.