The quiet, observant and community-loving Hazel Arnold left behind an unexpected gift for animal lovers in her native Frankfort.
Arnold, who died in January at age 93, left $150,000 to the Franklin County Humane Society. Those who knew Arnold said she had no pets, but her friends did and that’s all that mattered.
Martha Flynn, a longtime friend of Arnold described her as quiet but very observant, always shying away from attention but always noticing the small details in others. So, a large donation to an organization that Arnold’s friends used or supported was well within her character, Flynn said.
“I think that was her quiet way of honoring a place that she loved,” Flynn said. Arnold also donated some of her estate to a local library, and other central Kentucky organizations.
Flynn said Arnold grew up as the daughter of a Franklin County tobacco farmer, graduated from the University of Kentucky, moved to downtown Frankfort as an adult, taught shorthand in the local public schools for close to 30 years and spent her retirement in the same community she always knew.
“She never had animals once she left the farm, but some of those people closest to her did,” Flynn said, adding that Arnold would sometimes tease her friends about all the animals they’d adopted or bought.
Sam Marcus, the president of the Franklin County Humane Society, said they were “thrilled” by the donation, and that much of it would be going to help build a new animal shelter in Frankfort.
Marcus said part of the shelter, which is about three years from completion, will be named after Arnold and other substantial donors to the Humane Society.
“There must have been a secret part of her that loved animals,” Flynn said.