Marion Kremen’s assets go to Fresno State, San Joaquin Gardens (CA)

Fresno State donor Marion Kremen collected expensive books and jewelry, but also accumulated large amounts of slacks, blouses, shoes, scarves, towels, bed sheets and coffee mugs in her lifetime.

Her assets were spelled out this week in Fresno County Superior Court where the final distribution of her last will showed Fresno State receiving a bulk of her estate — about $2.17 million for student scholarships.

San Joaquin Gardens, the north Fresno retirement home where Kremen lived to the age of 102, received about $232,000 and all of her personal belongings, including her clothing, court records show.

Kremen’s death last year caused a stir because in her 2001 will she promised her entire estate to Fresno State. The university honored her and her late husband, Benjamin, by naming the education school after them.

Kremen’s death last year caused a stir because in her 2001 will she promised her entire estate to Fresno State. The university honored her and her late husband, Benjamin, by naming the education school after them.

But before she died on June 15, Kremen changed her will to add American Baptist Homes of the West, a foundation for San Joaquin Gardens. She also named Joe Anderson, the foundation’s president, as her executor.

The looming fight over her money was averted Tuesday with both sides stipulating to the final distribution of her assets, court documents show.

The estate paid Anderson and his Sacramento attorney, Emily Foehr, nearly $40,605 apiece for their work. Fresno State and the foundation divided the rest of the estate, valued at an estimated $2.43 million.

Anderson could not be reached to comment. In an email, Foehr wrote that the final distribution followed Kremen’s wishes.

When Kremen made her pledge in 2001 her estate was about $4 million, Fresno State attorney John Melikian said. Kremen, however, lived 11 more years and the value of her estate, after paying living expenses, dipped to about $2,431,000, he said.

In accordance with Kremen’s will, Fresno State received $1,073,077.57 in cash and stocks and bonds from such corporations as Colgate Palmolive, IBM, Pfizer Inc., 3M and PG&E that collectively have a market value of about $1.1 million, Melikian said.

The San Joaquin Gardens foundation also received cash from the estate and all of Kremen’s personal belongings, including a 1951 Baldwin piano, 10 baseball caps, 111 scarves, a 1930s shoe shine box and 136 pairs of women’s slacks.

Kent Clark, associate vice president for development at Fresno State, said Friday that university officials are “deeply grateful” to Kremen and her husband’s support of Fresno State students over the years.

“It’s a fantastic gift,” he said.

In addition to her will, Kremen gave several “significant donations” to Fresno State while she was alive, Clark said. University policy, however, prohibited him from divulging the amount.

Clark said there was no animosity toward Anderson and the San Joaquin Gardens foundation. Kremen donated her money as she wished, he said.

Kremen made her gift in memory of her husband, who founded Fresno State’s school counselor-education program. He also was a faculty member for more than 25 years before retiring in 1976. Benjamin Kremen died in 1995.

Kremen’s will mandates that Fresno State create an endowment dedicated to giving scholarships to students interested in becoming guidance counselors. The scholarship students will be selected by a committee that comprises two members appointed by Fresno State and three members appointed by American Baptist Homes of the West, the will said.

Kremen also warned Fresno State that if her and her husband’s name were taken off the education building, her entire estate must be given to the American Baptist Homes of the West.

Clark said no one has hinted at taking such action. “That’s not our intent,” he said.

Kremen died without children or heirs.

The court file showed that she made her first will in 1996 — a year after her husband died — and changed it and her executor a number of times.

In each will, she mentioned Fresno State as a benefactor. But in one will she wanted to give part of her estate to such groups as the Poverello House, American Cancer Society, Marjaree Mason Center, Salvation Army and Children’s Hospital Central California.

“It is not my intention, and has never been my intention, for my entire estate, including the entire remainder of the 2001 trust, to pass to the (Fresno State) endowment upon my death,” she wrote in her last will, dated April 30, 2011.

Fresno attorney Joanne Sanoian, who is not associated with the case but reviewed the final distribution document, said she found nothing unusual with it. “Fresno State received the lion’s share, just as her will stated,” said Sanoian, a probate attorney since 1982.

But Sanoian said Kremen’s will fits a disturbing trend. Typically, when a husband and wife make a gift, they stick to it, Sanoian said. But when one of them dies, the survivor “tends to get pressured from outside influences.”

“She had a lot of dough and people knew it,” Sanoian said.

Attribution:

Marion Kremen’s assets go to Fresno State, San Joaquin Gardens
Pablo Lopez
May 17, 2013
The Fresno Bee
http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/05/17/3304193/marion-kremens-assets-go-to-fresno.html#storylink=cpy

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