Todd Bol's home in Hudson is a reflection of the man who lived in it. Overlooking the St. Croix River, the modest house he shared with his wife Susan has two Little Free Libraries in its front yard, and a room being built onto the back specifically to fill with friends and families for parties and holidays.
"He loved this," his brother Tony Bol said, gesturing to the view from the deck where Todd Bol would often sit.
Todd Bol, the founder of the nonprofit Little Free Library, died Thursday, Oct. 18 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the beginning of October. He was 62.
Jovial, generous and truly caring is how Todd Bol's brother describes him, likening him to Old Fezziwig from A Christmas Carol.
"He loved life, he loved sharing life," Tony Bol said.
His children Allison and Austin remember him as a generous, goofy person, who taught them to be kind, just as he was.
"To many he was an innovator and genuine change maker. To us, he was dad," they said in a statement. "We will miss him always."
Little Free Library continues on as his legacy.
Todd Bol constructed the first Little Free Library in 2009 as a tribute to his mother, a teacher. It was installed in front of his own home, designed to look like a schoolhouse.
Now more than 75,000 registered Little Free Libraries exist around the world, and Tony Bol said there are likely more they do not know about.
Little Free Library not only provides access to books, but builds communities and fosters creative expression. The libraries are monuments to kindness, Tony Bol said, and serve as public art.
The stewards of the Little Free Libraries across the world have become a community network, one that developed organically, Tony Bol said.
Todd Bol valued the community these libraries created. At one point, he searched for cities without Little Free Library and found Detroit had none. He brought 25 of the libraries to the city. Now, thanks to the help of a super steward, Detroit has 400.
"He knows if he ignites the idea in the right way with the right people, proliferation will happen," Tony Bol said.
Todd Bol insisted on keeping the Little Free Library as a nonprofit. In doing so, Tony Bol said Todd Bol was able to ensure the mission of Little Free Library was protected.
"He was the one that recognized it was a movement, not a market," Tony Bol said.
From the start, Todd Bol viewed Little Free Library as a legacy to leave behind.
"He absolutely started this with the end in mind," Tony Bol said.
The organization was still at the front of Todd Bol's mind during his final days.
"I really believe in a Little Free Library on every block and a book in every hand. I believe people can fix their neighborhoods, fix their communities, develop systems of sharing, learn from each other, and see that they have a better place on this planet to live," he told Margret Aldrich of Little Free Library.
While in hospice Todd Bol worked with family to assemble a list of pillars of Little Free Library, those who were there in the beginning, vulnerable days.
"That was a big deal to him, to thank the people," Tony Bol said. "He wanted to make sure people understood what a community was that started it."
The work of Little Free Library took him all over the country, and the world, but Tony Bol said Todd Bol loved being a Hudson resident and valued his hometown story. He was proud to be a member of the Hudson Rotary, and enjoyed surrounding himself with those who worked to do good in their community.
"These are the people that fill my soul," Todd Bol would say.
Now that Todd Bol is gone, Tony Bol said Little Free Library will continue his work with a staff and board focused on the strong mission laid out by him.
Stewards have been sharing photos of their Little Free Libraries adorned with ribbon in Todd Bol's honor, and others have fully filled their libraries in his memory.
Tony Bol said Todd Bol would want others take the idea of generosity, shown so often by Todd Bol, into their hearts and their own loves.
"Be robust," Tony Bol said. "Share what you've got."