Philanthropist Brooke Astor has died at the age of 105.
Sadly, her last years were marred by poor health and questionable care at the hands of her son. According to the New York Times (registration required), she oversaw the distribution of $195 million to the needy, mostly in New York, and had fun doing it. She was very hands-on and personally visited the organizations being considered for a grant. She always dressed for the occasion, being particularly partial to hats. I just love this old quote the Times ran in her obituary: “If I go up to Harlem or down to Sixth Street, and I’m not dressed up or I’m not wearing my jewelry, then the people feel I’m talking down to them,” she said. “People expect to see Mrs. Astor, not some dowdy old lady, and I don’t intend to disappoint them.”