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By Associated Press
May 7, 2018

(NEW YORK) — A legal secretary who grew up in the Great Depression and quietly amassed over $9 million through decades of investments has donated most of it to needy students.

The New York Times reported Monday that $6.24 million from the estate of Sylvia Bloom has been given to the Henry Street Settlement; another $2 million will be split between Hunter College and another scholarship fund to be announced.

Bloom grew up in Brooklyn and earned a degree from Hunter at night while working days to make ends meet.

In 1947, she joined the firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

“She was a secretary in an era when they ran their boss’ lives, including their personal investments,” said her niece, Jane Lockshin. “So when the boss would buy a stock, she would make the purchase for him, and then buy the same stock for herself, but in a smaller amount because she was on a secretary’s salary.”

Paul Hyams, a human resources executive for the firm who became good friends with Bloom, recalled seeing her trudging out of the subway toward work in the middle of a fierce snowstorm when she was 96.

“I said, ‘What are you doing here?’ and she said, ‘Why, where should I be?'” he recalled.

She retired around that time, agreeing to move to a senior residence mainly because “she wanted to find a good bridge game,” said a cousin, Flora Mogul Bornstein.

Bloom died not long after, in 2016.

Bloom’s late husband, Raymond Margolies, was a firefighter who retired and then became a schoolteacher with a pharmacist career on the side, relatives said.

Lockshin said it’s “very possible” that not even he knew the size of his independent-minded wife’s fortune.

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Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

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