H-CENTRAL COAST

Nov 15, 2013 9:33 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Woman leaves millions to local organizations

We're learning more about an Atascadero woman who gave nearly $4 million to local organizations in San Luis Obispo County.

There aren't many people who would give away everything they had to people they barely knew, but Bertha Shultz wasn't like most people.

"Bob and Bertha met in San Luis Obispo during World War II. Both of them came from absolutely nothing," said friend and financial advisor Steve Maguire.

Searching for the American dream, the couple started a Morro Bay plumbing business in the 1950s.

"They did well with the plumbing business, but on the side they would buy a house, remodel it, they would build a house and sell it," said Maguire.

Bob and Bertha Shultz never had any kids but considered the community their family.

"Bertha was just a special person, I got to know her as a firefighter during the summer days," said retired Atascadero Fire Captain Tom Way. "She would just pull up on the ramp with a gallon of ice cream on hundred degree days and say, you boys look hot, why don't you have some ice cream."

Her generosity didn't stop there. She included them in her will, leaving them $1 million.

After Bob passed away, eventually Bertha moved to a senior living home in Atascadero and that's where she's remembered for her love for animals.

"Tom, her favorite dog, has slimmed way down. He doesn't get the treats anymore that he used to," said John Keil, the owner of the senior living home.

Her affection for animals would be passed along after her death to the Woods Humane Society to the tune of $250,000 and the same amount to the Charles Paddock Zoo.

And it didn't stop there, another $250,000 went to the Atascadero Rotary Club and $100,000 to the North County Christian School.

Everyone we spoke with said Bertha never would have liked any of the attention her donations are getting, but all say she deserves every bit of it.

Bertha also donated $1 million to Cuesta College's North County Campus and the Morro Bay Fire Department.

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