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Chauffeur Wills $157,000 to Social Security

January 30, 1987

DENVER (AP) _ An 81-year-old man willed the Social Security system nearly $160,000, saying he hoped he was doing his part to continue helping old and disabled people.

Elmer Lambert participated in Social Security from 1951 to 1959, earning $23,635 during that period and contributing $505, an amount matched by his employers, according to Social Security records.

In return, from January 1960 until October 1986, he received $71,048, said Social Security spokeswoman Mary Lou Amoroso.

″I am so proud to be an American,″ Elmer Lambert wrote to his attorney before he died of pneumonia last Nov. 18.

″The whole world expects America to always be the Santa Claus, and they never do anything in return. But not me; I do this with the hope that I am doing my part to continue helping old and disabled people as they have helped us,″ Lambert wrote.

Lambert, who was born in Fulton, Mo., worked as a chauffeur for the grandmother of his attorney, Frank Shafroth, and moved with her to Denver in 1940.

Shafroth recalled on Thursday that Lambert lived modestly and invested wisely. Lambert scraped together his earnings and bought an apartment building in Denver, the attorney said.

Lambert and his wife suffered strokes in the 1950s and he was disabled, but well enough to care for his wife until her death in 1980, Shafroth said.

Lambert willed $135,000 to the Social Security Disability Trust Fund and $22,000 to the Medicaid Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, Amoroso said.

Amoroso said people have bequeathed money to Social Security before, but it is a rare occurrence.

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