Bill and Rosy Edmonston relocated to Tucson from New York state in the early 1940s. Bill's tuberculosis forced the move that turned out to be a windfall for what was then the small community of Tucson. Although many of the couple's contributions to the community were made long ago, their impact is still strong even today.
Rosy graduated from Smith College in 1934 and Bill from Princeton in 1933. Both were very active in the nonprofit community in Tucson. Bill was a founding member of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Rosy helped establish St. Mary's Thrift Store, where she volunteered for many years. She also was a founding member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Northwest Tucson.
When they first came to Tucson there was only one traffic light. The family had to go for miles just to get water for their west-side home (there was no city water out near the Tucson Mountains). When they finally were able to drill a well, they shared their meager water supply with 12 other area homes.
Bill started Reproductions Inc., a local business. Today the company is still in operation, owned by its employees, who purchased the company from the Edmonstons many years ago, when Bill retired.
"They cared about the community and wanted to help people less fortunate," said daughter Betsy Banks. According to Betsy the couple lived very frugal lives, "They grew up during the depression and things were really hard." The couple's reserved spending habits allowed them to leave several gifts to charitable organizations upon their deaths. The Community Food Bank has received over $80,000 from the couple's trusts.
Money from such bequests is placed in the Community Food Bank's quasi endowment and is used for capital improvements and natural disasters. The fund has suffered minimal losses (about one percent) during the economic downturn because of the food bank's conservative investment strategy.
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