Loofs leave a legacy -- Bachelor brothers bequeath more than $1.6 million to Osceola County entities
SIBLEY, Iowa — A pair of rural Allendorf bachelor brothers who spent their lives fishing, trapping and hunting across northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota have left more than $1.6 million to three Osceola County entities.
George and Cecil Loof (pronounced “Loaf”) were known for the bib overalls they usually wore, the simple life they lived and their enjoyment of the outdoors. George died Oct. 15, 2012, at Country View Manor in Sibley. He was 86. His younger brother died Oct. 11, 2017, at Pearl Valley Rehabilitation and Nursing in Lake Park, Iowa. He was 89.
Following Cecil’s death, Osceola Community Hospital, the Osceola County Conservation Board and Sibley’s First Presbyterian Church were notified the Loofs had bequeathed money to them. It wasn’t until earlier this month that the agencies learned of the dollar amount.
Osceola Community Hospital received $650,000.
“On behalf of Osceola Community Hospital, we want to thank Cecil and George Loof for their generous contribution. We are truly blessed to have people in our community that believe in healthcare,” shared Ben Davis, hospital CEO. “It is generous gifts like this that assure the long-term viability of health care. We want to thank them for the confidence, trust and belief placed in us.”
The locally owned hospital has a board of directors, who will ultimately discuss and decide how the funds will be spent. No decisions have been made at this time.
Becky Krogman, foundation and marketing director for the hospital, said people wouldn’t have known the Loofs to have “this kind of money.” She wasn’t alone in her comments.
The Rev. Terry Simm of First Presbyterian Church in Sibley admitted he was shocked to learn the brothers left $492,000 for the church — one they didn’t even attend.
Simm forged a relationship with the Loofs after striking up a conversation with Cecil in the coffee shop one day. Simm led a men’s bible study group there, and the brothers often came in, but kept to themselves.
Simm said his background in farming and experiences in trapping connected the men. When Cecil went in for hip surgery at a Sioux Falls, S.D., hospital, Simm visited him. He also called on George when he entered the nursing home.
“It was usually toward the end of the day that I would go there and Cecil would show up,” Simm said.
Cecil would often deliver fresh produce to the Simm home — sweet corn, potatoes, onions — and the daycare children Simm’s wife cared for came to know Cecil as “the man with the food.”
“He would stop by often enough that they recognized him,” Simm said.
A new pickup George and Cecil bought every year was about the only luxury they had, Simm shared.
“Other than that, you really didn’t know they had money,” he added.
Simm presided over both George’s and Cecil’s funerals, and learned that the church was going to get a bequest after Cecil’s death last October. Since then, Simm said the church formed a committee to begin discussion on how the money might best be used.
“These monies will not be used for our general fund or normal budgeted expenses,” Simm said. “Everything we do will be to the glory of God.”
Simm said his sermon last Sunday was based on the book of Luke, chapter 12, verse 48, about great gifts coming with great responsibility.
“We’ve been given a great gift,” he said. “How we use it could benefit the world around us … and help people in need.”
Osceola County Conservation, which manages 46 parks, wildlife areas and water recreation accesses across the county, received $492,000 plus the nearly 240-acre homestead and farm owned by the Loofs. Executive Director Nick Schmalen said the County Conservation Board will use some of the funds to develop the Loof farm into wildlife habitat parcels.
“We were definitely surprised,” Schmalen said of the bequest, which only stipulates the Loof farm, located in Wilson Township, be used as wildlife habitat. Schmalen said there are no concrete plans yet for when and how the property will be transformed into habitat.
As for the money remaining once the land is converted to habitat, Schmalen said it will be used to improve wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation throughout the county.
Aside from the Loof brothers’ love for fishing, trapping and hunting, they also enjoyed baseball. Both played on the Allendorf town team in their younger days — George as a pitcher and Cecil typically at first base. Later on, their fondness for the game shone in through as avid fans of the Minnesota Twins.