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Trump And Farm Widow Burn Mortgage

December 23, 1986 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ A 66-year-old widow and her wealthy benefactors today burned the mortgage on her Georgia farm, less than 11 months after her husband killed himself to prevent it from being sold.

It will be a wonderful Christmas, said Annabel Hill. ″We have a real celebration, not only to celebrate the birth of Jesus but also to celebrate the goodness in men’s hearts,″ which saved the farm, she said.

On hand were real estate developer Donald Trump and Dallas farmer and landowner Tom McKamy, who together provided the last $78,000 that was needed to retire the mortgage on the 705-acre farm in Waynesboro, Ga.


Mrs. Hill’s husband, Lenard, committed suicide 20 minutes before their Waynesboro, Ga., farm was to be auctioned earlier this year to help pay a $300,000 debt.

The farm, which had once covered 5,000 acres, had been in Hill’s family for five generations. Family members said he apparently had hoped his life insurance and proceeds from 477 acres sold privately would cancel the debt, but the money fell short.

Atlanta businessman Frank Argenbright Jr. spearheaded efforts to raise money to save the farm. When all but $78,000 was collected, Trump said he would provide $39,000 if the other half was raised elsewhere. McKamy came forward after hearing about Mrs. Hill’s plight on television.

″I never gave up hope. Farmers don’t ever give up hope,″ Mrs. Hill said, after the mortgage-burning ceremony at posh Trump Tower in New York.

The mother of five and grandmother of 12 said she is expecting another grandchild any day, and she hoped it will be a boy who will continue to work the farm.

Trump called Mrs. Hill ″a really great lady. She’s a lovely lady and I’m really happy were were able to help out. ... I love burning mortgages. There’s nothing that gives me a greater kick.″

McKamy said his family has owned a farm in North Dallas for six generations, and has had to sell off some of their holdings to keep the farm going. He called for better farm prices, higher oil tariffs and an end to the windfall profits tax, measures he said would restore American wealth.

″All American farmers are in the same predicament,″ he said.