The funds will be used to improve the library system and specifically to help develop a new branch building in Friendsville.
“Mr. Offutt’s great generosity will have a lasting impact on the community where he grew up — Garrett County,” said Thomas Vose, director of the Ruth Enlow Library. “His kindness will help us ensure that children and adults here have a high-quality library system for years and years to come.”
Vose noted that Offutt was known to say that he’d never met a successful pessimist.
“His willingness to invest in the community and its people’s development is a reflection of the optimism he hoped to share with the world,” Vose said.
According to Richard Orenstein, trustee of Offutt’s estate, the Offutt family has deep roots in Oakland and was involved in banking, real estate and retail.
Offutt was born in Oakland in 1931. His father, Daniel Edward Offutt Jr., was president of the Garrett National Bank and died suddenly in 1943 when Dan was 12 years old.
After that, Offutt left to go to prep school in New Jersey and never returned. He went to the University of Maryland and received an MBA from Columbia University. He served in the Army and settled in New York City.
“He was a stock broker, mostly for his own account (money inherited from his father),” Orenstein said. “Dan was a very successful investor and amassed his fortune through astute investing, mostly in technology stocks, and being a momentum investor.”
Orenstein said Offutt spent the last 22 months of his life in a skilled nursing facility at Meadow Ridge Senior Center in Redding, Conn. He was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia and ultimately passed away from its complications on Nov. 24, 2016, Thanksgiving Day.
During his life, Offutt made many charitable donations to a variety of organizations. In Garrett County, these included the Appalachian Parent Association, Garrett College, Garrett County Historical Society, Garrett County Lighthouse, Garrett County Memorial Hospital (now Garrett Regional Medical Center), Goodwill Mennonite Home, Oakland Heritage Community Foundation Inc., Pleasant View Baptist Church, the Ruth Enlow Library and Maryland Salem Children’s Trust.
Orenstein stated that his guess as to why Offutt chose to donate to the library was that he knew his mother used and cared about the facility, and it was his way of honoring her.
“Dan left specific instructions in his trust for eight specific charities,” he said.
“The remaining funds were left to my discretion within the purposes of the trust, generally capital campaigns, scholarships and grants to qualified educational institutions,” Orenstein said.