Engineer Who Lived Modestly Donates $37 Million To Pittsburgh Foundation
January 29, 2018
A World War II veteran donated $37 million to a local charity prior to his death.
Raymond Suckling / Pittsburgh Magazine
Most people didn’t know that Raymond Suckling was a wealthy man. The longtime mechanical engineer from Sewickley, PA., loved fast food, drove an inexpensive car and wore Veclro sneakers. But his $37.1 million donation to the Pittsburgh Foundation before he passed away proves he chose to live a modest, simple life instead of one of glitz and glamour.
Unbeknownst to even his closest companions, before he died in 2014 at age 93, Suckling had accumulated millions including money he inherited from his parents and from his own investments.
Suckling’s bequest, which was finalized in December, will benefit the Sewickley Public Library, the Heritage Valley Health System in Sewickley, and nonprofits and programs in the Sewickley region that help low-income youth and families.
The gift will be allocated in annual amounts of $1.5 million with yearly grants of $500,000 a piece made to the library, the hospital, and to the Pittsburgh Foundation’s 100 Percent Pittsburgh initiative. The initiative will channel it to nonprofits in and around Sewickley that assist people in need.
Buddy Hallett, the son of Suckling’s longtime companion Betty Hallett (pictured), said the only time anyone may have guessed at Suckling’s wealth was when the family went out.
“Raymond always wanted to pay for everything,” Hallett said in a Pittsburgh Foundation release. “[But] no one knew that he was a man of such means.”
He mowed his own lawn and liked attending to the trees and bushes at Betty Hallett’s home in Florida.