Arlington widow: 'I want to help them in every way I possibly can'

Arlington widow: 'I want to help them in every way I possibly can' »Play Video
Elsie Smith
ARLINGTON, Wash. -- When 91-year-old Elsie Smith announced she was selling everything she owned to pay for her late husband's funeral, generous people from all over the world stepped up to help cover the expenses.

Elsie's story became a sensation, and the donations kept coming long after the funeral was paid for. In all, well wishers gave Elsie more than $80,000, and now she's putting that money to good use.

"I want to thank you people for the good work you've done," she said.

After paying for her husband funeral and burial, Elsie still had $58,601. That money will now go to good use as part of the new Elsie Mae Smith Fund.

"This money is going to go towards helping so many Elsies out there," said Jessica Weatherby, Elsie's former caretaker. "I was incredibly surprised. I had no idea how much of a need there was."

KOMO News shined a light on Elise during her difficult time, and she, in turn, shined a light on a sad situation that's more common than anyone knows.

"I want to help them in every way I possibly can," Elsie said.

One of the first women she's helping is Lucille, whose sister died in September but hasn't been buried yet.

"She's in refrigeration," Lucille said. "In the blink of an eye, you can be in that situation."

With money from the Elsie May Smith Fund, Lucille's sister will finally be put to rest on Friday.

A website for the new fund is still in the works, but administrators can be reached at (425) 905-9424. They will review cases one by one to decide how best to use the remaining money.