Robert Eugene Huthsteiner, Pauline Huthsteiner and Huthsteiner Fine Arts Trust


Upon noticing internet references to a 'Huthsteiner Fine Arts Trust', I did some research and got an interesting email with information about Robert Eugene Huthsteiner and his sister Pauline Huthsteiner founding a 'Huthsteiner Fine Arts Trust' in El Paso, TX.


June 12, 2006

Re : Huthsteiner Fine Arts trust

Hi Ted!


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
Pershing Drive which backed up to the home on Montana.  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.  Incidentally, the Plaza Hotel  was 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 the last. 

I explained to her that since she had no family her estate would go to the State of
Texas 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. 


The 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 Will.