Someone You Should Know: Jim and Anne Erdle

If you suddenly had a pile of cash, what might you do with it? For Jim and Anne Erdle of Canandaigua, the answer was: write a check. (WHAM photo)

Canandaigua, N.Y. (WHAM) - If you suddenly had a pile of cash, what might you do with it? For Jim and Anne Erdle of Canandaigua, the answer was: write a check.

Three years ago, people from around the world came to the Erdles’ property to bid on the antique tractors he'd collected over decades. Once the auction was over, and all those tractors sold, Jim and Anne could have traveled the world with the money. They could have bought themselves a new house. Instead, they bought a house for someone else.

“Your money isn't your money. You're blessed with it," Anne said. "It's not yours to keep. What good is it going to do? It was a great idea when he said, 'Give it away.' I said, 'Good for him.'”

The Erdles wrote a check for more than $300,000 to buy a home just a half mile up the street from their own. That house has now been remodeled into Light Hill, a two-bed comfort care home. There, volunteers care for people in their final stages of life, as well as their families.

“Just was very nice, nice to do it,” Jim said. “Nice to see what the result is.”

Nurse Suzanne Underhill is the executive director at Light Hill, an idea hatched in 2012 by a group of locals who saw the need for a comfort care home in Canandaigua. The Erdles' gift moved the process along much faster than anyone had expected.

“Jim and Anne are just the most humble people.” Underhill said. “They are exemplary of what this is about - family taking care of family.”

Mary Kay Naioti is the development director at Light Hill.

“They are truly at the heart of this home,” Naioti said of the Erdles. “We wouldn't be Light Hill without them.”

Naioti is quick to point out that many others have been giving of their time, talent and treasure, to help make Light Hill a reality.

One of the main tenets of comfort care is that it be provided free of charge to the people who come there to spend their final days. That means, even with the Erdles' gift, fundraisers will be a constant for the volunteers at Light Hill. Light Hill is selling umbrellas for $30, available at the house at 5160 Parrish Street Extension in Canandaigua. The umbrellas have butterflies, which are a symbol of end-of-life care.

There’s also a community dinner planned for Saturday, November 5 at the Cheshire Fire Hall from 4-8 p.m.

Jim, 88, remains humble about the gift he and his wife made to get Light Hill started. He says he doesn’t miss the money, or his world-renowned tractor collection, although he did purchase three more vintage tractors recently. Anne said after 57 years of marriage, he’s free to do as he pleases.

“As long as it doesn’t involve another woman,” she said with a laugh.

You can learn more about Light Hill on their website.

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