Three Siler City agencies receive $200,000 from a woman everyone knew as ``Aunt Bee.'


The woman neighbors called Miss Frances never took too kindly to strangers.

She often called the Siler City police when curiosity seekers dropped by her house to see the woman who played Aunt Bee on ``The Andy Griffith Show.'Frances Bavier just wanted her privacy, and Police Chief Lewis Phillips and his officers always helped her maintain it.

``She told me numerous times, `I'm going to look out for you when I die,' ' Phillips said.

Bavier died in 1989, and her promise was fulfilled this week.

Thanks to a $100,000 trust fund set up by Bavier, Siler City police will receive a bonus every Christmas. Interest from that fund - $3,400 a year - will be divided among Phillips and his 13 officers.

``We're happy about it,' Phillips said. ``Good gosh, this is a good Christmas bonus.'

Bavier also set aside $50,000 for the Siler City Rescue Squad and $50,000 for the Siler City Volunteer Fire Department.

In a small town like Siler City, Bavier's donation looms large. It represents almost half of the fire department's annual budget.

``In this day and age, it's hard to come by money,' said Fire Chief Billy Scott. ``This is an extreme boost to our department.'

Bavier - who died at age 86 - moved to Siler City in 1972 after befriending a town resident during a weight-loss program at Duke University.

Through the years, Bavier always said she'd find a way to help the three agencies that had ``come to her rescue,' said her attorney Sam Williams. But the funds only became available this month after her $700,000 estate was settled.

``She didn't have a family and she couldn't give to everybody in town and this is a way she thought would benefit everyone,' Williams said. ``And who doesn't benefit from police, fire and help services?'

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