Sylvia Bloom had spent 67 years working as a legal secretary for the same Wall Street law firm.
The 96-year-old, who died in 2016, was the firm’s longest ever serving employee, and lived a quiet life in Brooklyn with her husband Raymond Margolies, who passed away in 2002.
But Sylvia – who was the unassuming daughter of eastern European immigrants and went through America’s public school system – concealed a side of herself from all those who knew her.
Despite her modest salary, and renting a small apartment, her will proved Sylvia Bloom was a very rich, self-made woman. A woman who, in death, cemented herself as one of the biggest philanthropists of her community.
Sylvia’s US$6.24 million donation to a local social service group, Henry Street Settlement, which helps disadvantaged students prepare for and complete tertiary education, was publicly disclosed last week, two years after her death.
While a small amount of the woman’s US$9 million riches will be given to family and friends, a profile written by The New York Times’ Corey Kilgannon reports the bulk of it has been donated to a cause close to her heart; education.
“[It was] an oh my God moment,” niece Jane Lockshin, the executor of Sylvia’s estate, told the publication about the discovery.
“I realised she had millions and she had never mentioned a word. I don’t think she thought it was anybody’s business but her own.”