WASHINGTON — The Washington National Cathedral on Friday received a bequest of about $15 million, the largest in its 92-year history.
It was willed by Katherine Thomas, who came from Emlenton, Pa., and lived in suburban Rockville, Md. Born Katherine Gregory, she died in 1994 at age 96.
She left another $7.5 million to St. Albans School, which like the cathedral belongs to the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation.
Thomas' bequests came from the sale of Windy Knoll, a dairy farm in Rockville that her family bought during the Depression of the 1930s and lived in afterward. It was valued at $43 million when she died.
Thomas was also a benefactor of Treatment and Learning Centers, a nonprofit corporation, which named its school for children with learning disabilities for her. The centers help children throughout the Washington area.
Another bequest to the cathedral, $2.5 million from Paul Mellon, will go into a special endowment, with the stipulation that only the proceeds from the principal will be available to the cathedral. Like his father, former Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, Paul Mellon was a longtime benefactor of the National Gallery of Art.
Thomas' bequest was not restricted.
"These gifts will provide additional support for our liturgical and programmatic life, as well as help to ensure the ongoing preservation of this house of worship for our nation," the Very Rev. Nathan D. Baxter, dean of the cathedral, said in a written statement.
Greg Rixon of the cathedral staff said the money would be especially helpful for bringing conferences and guest clergy to Washington and for musical programs. It also can be used for maintenance of the cathedral--the world's sixth largest and a leading Washington tourist site. It receives about a million worshipers and visitors a year.
The Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, the cathedral's official name, is the seat of Bishop Ronald Haines, who heads the Episcopal diocese of Washington.