The Historical Society of Carroll County has received more than $500,000 as a bequest from the estate of Doris M. Walters to maintain the circa-1820 Cockey's Tavern, the circa-1800 Kimmey House and the 1807 Sherman-Fisher-Shellman House, all on East Main Street in Westminster.
Walters, who passed away Feb. 8, 2012 at the age of 79, was a retired schoolteacher and longtime resident of Carroll Lutheran Village.
The Baltimore native received her undergraduate degree from the State Teachers College at Towson, now Towson University, and a graduate degree in education from Columbia University in New York City. She taught in Baltimore City schools, and retired as an assistant principal.
Walters exercised her passion for history by serving on the Historical Society of Carroll County Education Committee.
She also supported the Maryland State Boychoir and launched a scholarship fund for young employees at Carroll Lutheran Village.
Her hand-knit blankets supported Project Linus, bringing comfort to children in need.
She was a member of the Carroll Lutheran Village board of directors, where she represented the concerns of fellow residents.
Her apartment at the Village reflected her interests in postcards, stamps, coins and books. She also was an accomplished photographer, and her pictures often were featured at the Village.
Upon her death, her estate was distributed equally to three beneficiaries: the Historical Society of Carroll County, the Maryland State Boychoir and her godson.
The historical society received some of the funds last year, and the balance this summer.
In acknowledging the bequest, Historical Society of Carroll County Chairman Tom Rasmussen, of New Windsor State Bank, said: "This gift is truly a blessing. Our old buildings are expensive to maintain and we're thankful we now have the funds to care for them appropriately. Unfortunately, these funds are not part of our annual operating budget, which projected a $40,000 deficit in 2013. We continue to have a pressing need for funds to maintain the operations of our society - utility bills, staffing, insurances - things that let us keep the doors of those buildings open and allow us to provide programs and services to our community."
Former Historical Society of Carroll County Executive Director Timmi Pierce met Walters at Carroll Lutheran Village, where Pierce had worked as a marketing executive. Pierce said, "There was never a time when Doris' mental abilities didn't challenge me. She was an intentional, purposeful teacher. She was acerbic and outspoken. Visiting her was like entering a highly organized museum hosted by a caring docent. I became a chosen student and friend. She was very much her own person. I will never forget her."