It was March 14th, 1932.
"Why he picked that day I really don't know,” said Kathy Connor, Curator at the George Eastman House.
77 year old George Eastman was suffering from a painful disease that effected his spine. He took his own life leaving behind a note with just nine words and his signature, "To my friends, my work is done...why wait?"
"Very simple to the point, but making it clear to them this was what he considered to be the right thing,” Connor said.
"People were stunned in fact most people from the accounts didn’t believe it like they thought it was a rumor or someone was just saying this stuff but it couldn't be true,” said Connor.
The day of his death, Eastman made a change to his will leaving much of his estate to the University of Rochester. There was a time when the anniversary of Eastman's death was marked with flags at half staff throughout the city, but these days you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who realized the significance of this day when Rochester lost its greatest benefactor.
Eastman was no stranger to overcoming challenges. Twice while he was in charge Kodak almost went out of business, but he had a saying for those times.
"Judge me when I'm done with this process, not when I'm in the process of turning it around or changing it,” said Connor.
"I think you might get the same type of response today from Antonio Perez. He is in the middle of a huge transformation and that I think would be the same kind of thing you would hear from him,” said George Conboy, President of Brighton Securities.
Conboy believes if Eastman were alive today he'd be surprised how fast film is being eclipsed by digital photography, but he thinks Eastman would have been on top of it keeping with his legacy.
"The Eastman legacy 75 years from now will still be based on the idea that if you provide the consumer with something easy to use, something reasonably priced and something they want, you'll be successful,” said Conboy.
Eastman was cremated and his ashes buried at Kodak Park.