Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Friday, Nov. 8, 2002


Charities to Realize 56 Percent of $50 Million Estate

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn announced today that an agreement executed today in Midland in the distribution of the Barney and Helen Greathouse Estate will result in $28.4 million - about 56 percent of the estate - flowing to various charities.

"I'm pleased to say we have reached an agreement with the heirs of the estate that will greatly benefit charities and their work, in keeping with the wishes of the late Barney and Helen Greathouse of Midland," said Attorney General Cornyn. "With this agreement approved, these important historical members of the Midland community will long be remembered for their selfless generosity in promoting worthwhile causes in the charitable community."

Last August, representatives from the Attorney General's Office, eight charitable organizations, various relatives of the Greathouses and a representative of the estate met in mediation sessions, and eventually reached an agreement over the estate and the wills in dispute. The agreement provides $28.4 million to charitable beneficiaries and $22.5 million to family members.

Mr. Greathouse preceded his wife in death in 1974, but both Greathouses executed wills in 1973 that left the majority of their estate to charity. This will, agreed to by both husband and wife, formed the cornerstone of the Attorney General's involvement in the distribution of the estate in accordance with the wishes of the couple. Mrs. Greathouse died in September 2001 at the age of 91.

Charitable beneficiaries include:

  • First United Methodist Church, Midland ($2.5 million);
  • Midland Memorial Foundation ($2.25 million);
  • Midland Children's Rehabilitation Center, formerly Midland Cerebral Palsy Center ($1 million);
  • Midland Association of Retarded Citizens ($1 million);
  • High Sky Children's Ranch, Midland ($700,000);
  • Permian Basin Community Centers for Mental Health and Mental Retardation ($700,000);
  • The Helen Greathouse Charitable Trust, administered by Wells Fargo Bank, Midland, Trustee ($17.75 million); and
  • Methodist Children's Home, Waco ($2.25 million).

The charities will commemorate the donors of the gifts by holding their distributions in separate endowments each to be called the "B. R. and Helen Greathouse Endowment Fund."

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