At the August meeting of the Weld Historical Society, President Sean Minear seen at right talks about Peter Schofield who left the society $812,162. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

WELD — Peter Schofield kept a promise almost 20 years in the making by leaving $812,162 to the Weld Historical Society, with one of the few stipulations being to hold a party.

The announcement came during the society’s August meeting held at the site of the former Weld General Store where the 1 School St. public park will be established. WHS was formed in 1975.

Society President Sean Minear stopped several times to provide more of the back story before telling the 60 plus in attendance the actual amount of the bequest.

“Peter Schofield was born in Rumford and as he said, ‘brought home to Weld very quickly,’” Minear said. “He was the son of Stanley and Nadine Scholfield and lived in what is known as the Edmund and Romaine Hutchinson place, growing up next to his best friend Daphne Conant Proctor.”

Daphne Conant Proctor was a lifelong friend of Peter Schofield, having grown up next to him. She is also one of the founding directors for the Weld Historical Society. Also seen is her husband, Ardene ‘Dene’ Proctor. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Scholfield died last September at 84, Minear noted.

“He had gone to Weld schools and was part of that generation that had a choice of going to Dixfield or Wilton,” he said. “Peter chose to go to Dixfield and graduated from Dixfield High School in 1954.”

Schofield worked as a cabin boy at Kawanhee Inn and as a counselor at Camp Kawanhee for boys, Minear noted. Schofield served in the Navy from 1954 to 1958 as a meteorologist, he added.

“Upon leaving the Navy he went to Kent State, got a business degree in 1962,” Minear said. “Peter immediately went to work for what eventually became Bridgestone Firestone Co., retiring after 35 years with the title of chief negotiator and director of labor relations for the entire company.

“One of the things we talked about was, as we get older people start to harken back and remember what things were like in a different time,” Minear continued. “Peter visited regularly, talked about moving back to this area from Cleveland and looked at various places. That didn’t happen.”

According to a letter from Schofield’s attorney, part of Schofield’s will was to establish a fund for the WHS for the benefit of the community at large, Minear noted. Others would be encouraged to add to it, he added.

“If the body of the fund amounts to anything substantial at the time of my death and or through additional gifting by others as determined by the society, then it seems to make good business sense to only use the earnings distributed therefrom for distribution into the community as the society decides,” Schofield wrote in the letter.

Other than that, it’s pretty much a no strings attached situation, Minear noted. He added they had spent about 17 years having this fascinating conversation back and forth about cemeteries and flower gardens in Weld, and Peter’s thoughts about giving a gift to the WHS.

The gift’s amount wasn’t known, Minear said. A July 2007 letter from Schofield confirmed 40% of his net liquidated estate would go to the WHS, he added.

“Peter’s wishes were to use the money to finish the 1 School Street project with three-quarters of it going into what will be called the Village Improvement Society 2.0,” Minear said. “Peter’s grandmother Mabel Schofield was a vital and founding member of the Village Improvement Society. They were people who did good deeds. They knitted things, produced cookbooks and purchased things for the town.”

Some of the interest will be used for awards/scholarships from the Wilton Scholarship Foundation, Camp Kawanhee for boys and a new Peter L. Schofield scholarship at Dixfield High School, Minear said. All graduating Weld seniors will also be recognized regardless of their plans for further education, he added.

Interest will also be used as the WHS officers see fit to assist Weld organizations and departments that benefit the community, Minear said. Examples given were helping the snowmobile club build a new bridge and purchasing turnout gear for the fire department. Funds may not be used for ongoing projects or operating expenses and applying is required, he noted.

One stipulation on Peter Schofield’s $812,162 gift to the Weld Historical Society was that a party be held. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

“Peter was vague abut some of the stuff in his gift,” Minear said. “There weren’t a lot of restrictions. One was that there had to be a party, he wanted a celebration.”

Champagne, lobster rolls and other delicacies were then served on the lawn near the society’s town house.

“Peter did good by us,” resident H. Coval Conant said.

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