By: O Jefferson
December 26, 2012 (LEMONT, Ill.) (WLS) -- Not many people knew Sylvester Czopek during his life. But now many animal lovers will come to know his name after his death.
Czopek bequeathed over $1.5 million to local animal shelters, but only the kind that follow a no-kill policy.
The 84-year-old died in a Joliet hospice in October 2011, but not before setting up a trust that would direct his estate's assets solely to animal shelters that strive to nurse and adopt out their clients.
Czopek was the last of five brothers from Lemont, all of whom never married. Czopek's lawyer says he did not know how much money came to him -- mainly through family real estate -- but was delighted when he realized he could make a difference to the beings that meant the most to him.
The $1.5 million will be split between five no-kill shelters:
- Will County Humane Society in Shorewood
- West Suburban Humane Society in Downers Grove
- Naperville Area Humane Society
- Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge
- PAWS Chicago Adoption Center
PAWS Chicago has grown into the country's largest no-kill shelter. In 15 years the number of animals brought in has dropped by more than a third, and the number killed is down 60 percent.