Nation: A Fortune Won

Hughes' kin keep his millions

Three weeks after Howard Hughes died of kidney failure in 1976, his purported will surfaced mysteriously in Salt Lake City on a desk at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Dubbed the Mormon will, the document bequeathed his fortune to an improbable collection of institutions and individuals, including a Utah gas station attendant, Melvin Dummar, who claimed that he had once given Hughes a ride to Las Vegas.

Though the will contained misspellings and references atypical of the reclusive billionaire, onetime Hughes lieutenant Noah Dietrich, who was designated the estate's executor by the Mormon will, pressed...

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