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Late WWII POW leaves $3M to Arizona organization after death

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Posted at 5:38 PM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 19:38:26-05

PRESCOTT VALLEY, AZ — A late World War II prisoner of war and entrepreneur has bequeathed $3 million to the United Way of Yavapai County after spending his 24-year retirement in Prescott, agency officials said.

The family of Daniel Huband Roberts was surprised to learn that he left the agency the bulk of his estate after his death at age 97 a year ago, The Daily Courier reported Monday.

"We're still shocked," United Way Board President Mary Ann Suttles said.

United Way personnel are honored Roberts recognized this organization over many others as a funnel for his philanthropic legacy, staff said. The organization typically raises and distributes about $250,000 a year, officials said.

United Way relies on community members to review annual requests for dollars to fund a variety of charitable programs that can range from youth entrepreneurship opportunities and work programs for homeless adults to library services and mental health resources, agency officials said.

Officials intend to invest and use the donation to continue financing innovative programs "that fill in the gaps of services," Executive Director Annette Olson said.

Agency officials held a short ceremony at the Yavapai County Courthouse to offer gratitude to Harry Boynton, who repeatedly said he is simply the messenger for his uncle, officials said.

United Way expects to establish a Veteran Scholarship Fund for area college students as the first project funded by and in honor of Roberts, officials said.

"I want him to get all the credit," said Boynton as he was awarded a plaque honoring his uncle and the scholarship fund. "This was all him. This was his wish."

Roberts was raised in Vermont and spent 45 years as an Alaska businessman after more than three years as a prison of war in the Philippines.