Philanthropic Couple Passes Away, Leaves Legacy Behind - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Philanthropic Couple Passes Away, Leaves Legacy Behind

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Painting by George Wright Painting by George Wright

CAMBRIDGE, Md.- What do Dorchester General Hospital, the Choptank River Lighthouse, and the performing arts center at Chesapeake College have in common?  Contributions from Rufus and Lorraine Todd, lifetime residents of Dorchester county, who passed away earlier this month.

"He enjoyed giving while living, rather than not knowing where the money went," said Doug Turner, who has lived in Cambridge his whole life.

He was also a student when Rufus was a teacher, known as "Rock."  He says once the school day ended, Rufus turned his attention to his seafood business on Hooper's Island.

"He would teach during the day, leave school at 3:30, have to rush down to the island, they'd have the crab truck ready for him, he'd run it to Baltimore, Washington, Philly, get back home around one, and then get up the next day and do it again," said Turner.

Loraine was also a teacher, and later principal at South Dorchester High School. Upon retiring in 1996 from both teaching and seafood, the Todds decided to spend the money they had earned bettering the community, first by building and starting the Hooper's Island Volunteer Fire Company. But that was just the beginning.

"If it wasn't for their generosity, the Choptank River Lighthouse would not be a reality today," said George Wright, a friend of the Todds.

The couple contributed one-quarter of the construction costs of the lighthouse, which is now one of the first thing drivers see when crossing the Malkus Bridge into town.  

Wright though is more than just a friend.  He also painted the portrait of the couple that now hangs in the Rufus and Loraine Todd Performing Arts Center.  There, the Todds contributed $500,000 to add a mezzanine to the theater, as well as a new computerized ticketing system.

"Giving back.  That was very important to them.  They said why work so hard and why have all of this if you're not giving it back and making a difference in your community," said Lauren Halterman, leader of the foundation that raised money for the renovations at the school.

Later, the Todds also contributed money to Dorchester General Hospital, and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

Loraine died Feb. 3 at age 91, and just under two weeks later, Rufus followed on Feb. 16 at age 89.

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