Three years ago, Patrick Kurdy got the message that a lawyer was looking for him.
"That's never really good news," said Kurdy, president of the Idaho Jazz Society.
It was in this case.
The lawyer told Kurdy that Blaine County philanthropist Dayle Fowler had left more than $600,000 to the group in her will.
The society now has the first installment of that money, and it's spreading the news about this windfall.
Fowler, 62, died in a crash after she stopped for road work on Idaho 93 near Jerome in June 2011. She got out of her car and was struck by a truck, which also hit two other cars.
Kurdy had known Fowler through their common interest in jazz. Fowler was a volunteer at the Sun Valley Jazz Festival and a fan of Onomatopoeia, the band Kurdy was in at the time.
The two had shared a few meals. Kurdy invited Fowler for lunch in Boise to tell her about the society's college scholarship program. He had hoped Fowler might be inspired to donate to the fund to help local music students.
The lunch was pleasant, Kurdy said. But when he heard nothing from Fowler, he assumed that she'd decided to share her wealth elsewhere - until that call from the lawyer.
Kurdy and the other society members were shocked to hear of Fowler's death.
"She was a jazz fan. We really liked her. Everyone did," Kurdy said.
The society first installment of Fowler's gift, around $180,000, created an endowment that will provide between $15,000 and $18,000 a year to be divided among a few students.
The scholarships are open to Idaho college music students. They do not have to be attending an Idaho college. The society will review scholarship applications this summer to help a music student this fall.
"We plan to never touch the principal, so this will fund scholarships in Dayle Fowler's name for many years to come," said Kurdy.
Future Fowler installments will go into the endowment, which the society hopes to grow to $1 million. The society will be able to accept donations from the public for the endowment.
Until now, the society has gotten a few thousand dollars in donations each year. Scholarships are around $1,000 a year per student.
"Books alone cost more than that," said Kurdy.
Fowler's generosity didn't stop with the money. She also donated four works of art - a sculpture, two illustrated manuscript pages and a painting from India.
The society will hold a silent auction at its benefit concert Friday. The auction will include Fowler's donated art, and the proceeds will go to the scholarship fund.
Anna Webb: 377-6431