The Invermere Public Library is the recipient of a generous donation by a long-term Windermere resident who passed away last August.
Joseph Camenzind, who died on August 17, 2012 at the age of 86, bequeathed a large sum of money to the library in his will, and library officials received the initial amount of $50,000 in December.
“We had received notification in June of last year that we were receiving a bequest but we didn’t know at the time the size that it was going to be,” librarian Nicole Pavlak told The Valley Echo. “We are very surprised and grateful, just really overwhelmed that he would consider us for that.”
Joseph was born in Gersau, Switzerland and immigrated to Canada in 1950. Employed by the sawmill industry, he moved to Invermere in 1959 and married Agnes Huebschi, also Swiss, in 1962.
Among the early investors in the original Panorama ski lift, they moved to Juniper Heights in 1981 where they built a new home.
His last job had been working for the Radium saw mill before he retired, some twenty years ago. Agnes passed away on February 24, 2006, just ten days after Joseph’s birthday on Valentine’s Day.
It was Agnes who was the avid library-goer, and the two of them prepared the donation before she died.
“As far as I know I think this is the biggest donation that has come in,” Pavlak said.
The interim donation will be followed by a subsequent amount sometime in June or July when the Camenzind estate is finalized. There are no conditions to the money at all.
“Right now there are no immediate plans for the money,” Pavlak said. “I think with something this size the Board of Trustees will sit down and be really thoughtful about what to do with the money.”
The Invermere Public Library celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
The official day of the anniversary when it was incorporated as an official library association is June 5.
Possible plans so far include an evening event with dinner, cake and a performance, and a special float in the Canada Day parade.
“Everything is still in development but the public can definitely expect something to happen on June 5,” Pavlak said.