Bloomfield man leaves fortune to his community

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By Kacie Goode

A Bloomfield man who died in 2017 has bequeathed thousands of dollars to various community organizations and individuals in his will. Jack Briggs passed away Feb. 20, 2017, at the age of 86. According to his last will and testament, he had no known living next of kin, and an estimated $2.48 million in personal property.

Briggs’ bequests include land and monetary gifts, which have been divided in various amounts to organizations and entities of his choosing.

Last week, Nelson County Relay for Life received a check for $60,000.

“Relay for Life of Nelson County is so grateful for this amazing donation,” said Stacey Phelps, chairperson of the local chapter. “I never imagined it would be for such a large amount when I first received the phone call and left in tears after picking up the check. I wish I could have met him and personally thanked him for all the people he will be helping in our community.”

The Nelson County Public Library also received an endowment of $60,000, both bequests part of Briggs’ residual estate after other payments were made.

“I was stunned,” said library director Sharon Shanks of receiving a letter about the gift in April. “I looked him up to see if he was patron, and he hadn’t been for a long time,” but he was an avid reader. 

Shanks said the money is in the library’s capital improvement fund for future use, and the organization looks to potentially honor Briggs by naming a space after him.

Briggs’ will directed that his funeral expenses and any debts be paid from his estate first, and then he went on to list some specific bequests, including leaving a more than 200-acre farm to a person his obituary described as a caregiver. He also left bank stocks to be shared among several individuals, many of whom are Bloomfield residents, and monetary bequests in various amounts to others.

In addition to Relay for Life and the library, Briggs indicated in his will the desire to bequeath remaining funds from his estate to several city entities. The City of Bloomfield was given $50,000, with first priority to be used for the maintenance of a local bridge. Briggs also left $25,000 to the Northeast Nelson Fire Protection District, as well as several thousand to Bloomfield cemeteries, churches and Flaget Memorial Hospital, according to the will.

Other entities listed in Briggs’ will to potentially receive residual bequests include: Nelson County Fiscal Court (for EMS services); Nelson County Schools; United Way; the Nelson County unit of the Salvation Army; Hospice of Nelson County; Caritas Home Health Unit and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Additional bequests may be made as the estate is settled.

According to his obituary, Briggs was born Sept. 24, 1930, in Bloomfield, to Andrew and Anna Wood Dodson Briggs Jr. He was a farmer and a former employee of the Nelson County Cooperative Tobacco Warehouse. He was a member of the Big Spring Bloomfield Presbyterian-Trinity Baptist Church, and he loved to play bridge.