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Cranberry Lake resident leaves community millions

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CRANBERRY LAKE — More people in Robert F. Damoth’s adopted community may be touched by his death than those who knew him during his later life. Mr. Damoth, who died last year at the age of 76, left organizations in the Cranberry Lake area around $2.5 million through an endowed fund administered by the Adirondack Community Trust.

Starting in 2013, Clifton-Fine Central School, Clifton Community Library, the Wilderness Health Care Foundation of Clifton-Fine Hospital and Cranberry Lake Fire & Rescue will each receive $15,000 annually. Mr. Damoth left a fifth portion of his bequest unrestricted. The use of the annual grant of $15,000 from this part of the fund will be determined by the Clifton-Fine Economic Development Corporation, a nonprofit organization.

The bequest came as a surprise to its recipients because Mr. Damoth was not well-known and did not give the impression he was well-off.

“He was somewhat of a recluse. He kept to himself,” said Cali E. Brooks, executive director of ACT, Lake Placid, which has invested the fund for stability so it will be a legacy for a long time. “He came up with organizations that were important to him. People were really dumbfounded by this.”

Mr. Damoth had worked for New York Telephone and lived in Bergenfield, N.J. before buying his home on Cranberry Lake in 1998. He lived there with his brother, George L., who died in 2007.

Mr. Damoth had physical challenges that made it difficult for him to speak and hear, which probably contributed to his solitary nature. He was an avid reader and liked to fish.

The library board is working on a five-year long-range plan to determine how the money might be used to better serve that process, Mrs. White said.

The funding to the school will be used as scholarships for graduates bound for four-year colleges.

The fire department and rescue squad could use the money for equipment and training, Mrs. Brooks said.

The board of the hospital’s foundation will decide what to do with its annual gift, Clifton-Fine Administrator Robert P. Kimmes said.

“I had never met the guy,” Mr. Kimmes said. “It was something that wasn’t expected, a pleasant surprise.”

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