(Update: Adding video and nephew comment)
$826,000 donation from 1955 grad Byron Meadows, who passed away in 2012
PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Crook County School District announced Wednesday it will start a college scholarship fund after receiving a donation of nearly $827,000 from the estate of an alumnus who died eight years ago.
Before he passed away in 2012, Byron Wayne Meadows, a 1955 graduate of Crook County High School, created a trust that named CCSD as the beneficiary.
In 1994, Meadows informed CCSD of the trust’s existence and met in person with CCSD representatives in 2007.
The trust consisted of a real property asset in San Diego, which was to be used as a residence for the remainder of the life of the caretaker. After the caretaker passed away in December of 2018, the property was sold, and the proceeds, after expenses, were to be donated to CCSD.
Meadow’s nephew, Jerry Culpepper of Prineville, is the trustee and has been in contact with the district since the caretaker’s passing.
“I hope the money will make a perpetual scholarship for these kids that don’t think that they are brainiacs," Culpepper said Wednesday. "Some students want to go into school and need the money to go into school.”
CCSD Director of Business and Finance Anna Logan said the district received the money Dec. 30 and has deposited the funds into a new, special investment account that is separate from regular district funds.
CCSD will form a Byron Wayne Meadows Memorial Scholarship Committee and hopes to award CCHS seniors this spring.
The five-member committee will include two school board members, two CCSD employees, and one community member. The board will annually appoint the committee members.
Once the committee forms, they will recommend to the board the scholarship criteria as well as the dollar amount and number of scholarships they will award.
In his Oct. 30, 1994, letter to the CCSD, Meadows said he received the Ochoco Scholarship during his studies at the University of Oregon and at the University of Vienna.
“Without your financial assistance it would have been very difficult for me to complete college,” he wrote. “I promised Mr. Burgess, who was then the high school principal, that I would eventually pay back the money which the good citizens of Prineville gave to me for my education. I am fulfilling that promise by making you the primary beneficiary of my living trust.”
After graduating from CCHS, Meadows was drafted into the Army. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 1960 and studied abroad in Vienna, Austria, majoring in music, German and French.
Meadows worked for the City of Los Angeles, where he received training to become a computer programmer. He then worked as a computer software developer. He enjoyed music and fine arts.
“Crook County School District leaders believe every student should pursue post-high school education, whether that’s college, trade school or an associate’s degree,” said CCSD Board Chair Scott Cooper. “Unfortunately, access to additional education is a stretch for many students, for a variety of reasons. A community scholarship helps knock down barriers and sends a message to a graduating senior, ‘We believe in you, so we’re investing in you.’”