June 12, 2006
Re : Huthsteiner
Fine Arts trust
I am a
72 year old attorney who retired because his memory was failing so
you will have to take my response with the proverbial grain of sand.
I taught law for a decade after completing law school and then
moved to my old home town, El Paso, and started practicing law in
1972. I struck a deal with Abner (now deceased) who was the senior
partner of the firm that represented Robert Eugene Huthsteiner. I
was a tax lawyer and his firm did not have one. They let me use one
of their offices, library, Xerox, etc.
When Robert Huthsteiner died, Abner was close to retirement. Robert
was his client and instead of letting other members of his law firm
handle things, he asked me to take on the probate and to take care
of his sister Pauline's new Will.
I arranged a funeral for Robert Huthsteiner. I had him
buried. He had been the CEO of Cumming Diesel Engine. I called
Cumming and got a hold of the President of the company. Cumming
Diesel sent $500 worth of flowers to the funeral which, in 1976,
bought a tremendous lot of flowers - they were everywhere.
The Huthsteiner family had a home on Montana Avenue in El Paso and
also owned a home on
which backed up to the home on
When Robert retired from Cumming, he did not move back into the
family home. Instead he leased an entire floor of the Plaza Hotel
in downtown El Paso and filled the family home with four drawer
steel filing cabinets with his personal files which he had shipped
form Cumming. I looked at some of them and could not believe
the meticulous (to a fault) records he kept. I remember opening one
file which contained his notes on an automobile trip from El Paso to
California in the 1930s. He logged every day, indicated the
mileage, where they bought gas, bought food, stayed, etc. Then
following his hand written notes was a typed copy.
I indicated I buried Robert. When we gained access to the house we
found small brass containers on the mantle of the fireplace in the
living room each engraved as containing the cremated remains of, and
I believe it was, his four deceased siblings. I should have had him
cremated but I didnít know any better. In the house on Pershing
Drive, the backyard of which backed up to the backyard of the
Montana Street home, there was a detached garage in which we found a
Model A or T Ford, wrapped in newspaper, and in pristine condition.
Abner told that Robert was one of six children, none of whom ever
had married. His father, Robert Edward huthsteiner, was an engineer
in the El Paso area, and for many years his framed Wedding
Certificate hung in the County Clerkís office in the El Paso County
Courthouse. I never understood why, other than it was a relic from
the past which was interesting to look at.
Abner told me that Pauline Huthsteiner was Robertís sister.
Evidently she was never married and served as Robertís secretary for
many years at Cumming Diesel. During retirement years, she lived at
one end of the floor in the Plaza that Robert leased and he lived at
the other end. The Plaza Hotel
assigned two maids to the floor.
the first high rise Hilton which Conrad Hilton ever built, but the
Hilton chain sold it off when it became unprofitable. Robert
promised the maids that if they took extraordinary good care of him
and his sister they would be rewarded in his Will. At the funeral
there were six people - two lawyers (Abner and myself), two trust
officers and the two maids. Pauline didnít attend the
funeral. Since I bought him a solid copper casket (knowing he was a
man of wealth) the funeral included six limos so each of us could
have had a separate car. We only took two - one for the maids and
one for the men.
After about a week I made an appointment with Pauline since her Last
Will needed to be revised. Evidently each of the six children had
left everything they had to their surviving sibling and Pauline was
I explained to her that since she had no family her estate would go
to the State of
if she could not name a beneficiary. I spent three afternoons with
her trying to get her to come up with a beneficiary. Finally
on the third afternoon, I suddenly realized that the entire time I
had been with her we had been listening to classical music so I
suggested a trust for the fine arts. That rang her bell. She
thought it was a great idea and the Huthsteiner Fine Arts Trust was
born. It was funded before her death and the income was used to
take care of her for the rest of her life. She had a stroke and was
in a coma for a couple of years before she died. She received
excellent care during those years with either a RN or LVN by her
side the entire time. We played classical music for her all day
long and at night turned on the TV to the programs she always had
watched. I donít know if she apprehended any of it, but we tried.
The Fine Arts Trust was created with a division of responsibility.
The bank was Trustee and has full authority and control over the
investment of the principal, but has no authority over the
distribution of the income except to refuse to distribute if
instructed to distribute to an ineligible beneficiary. Pauline
appointed a Donations Committee with a representative from each of
the Symphony, Opera, Ballet, Museum, Music Department of the
University of Texas at El Paso, and Institute of the Arts, plus her
lawyer and her accountant. Over the years there have been changes
made in the composition of the Committee. The Institute of the Arts
and the Ballet went out of business. The Opera failed but came
back, the accountant died, etc. The Trust instrument provides how
to handle these types of contingencies and the Trust functions well,
making grants to support the fine arts in the El Paso area.
Currently the Trust distributes about $150,000 annually.
Where will you find more information? When I retired in 1999 I sold
my practice and all my files were delivered to the firm that
purchased them. That firm split and then there have been two
mergers of principals in the firms that got my files.
only other thought I had was to contact Mayo Clinic. Robert died of
cancer but before his death he chartered a private jet and I think,
on two occasions, flew to the Mayo Clinic. If I remember correctly
he remembered them to the tune of either $5,000 or $50,000 in his