The ninth in our eleven-part series featuring endowed funds, this week’s Common Threads article focuses on community based funds and endowments that support local churches.
The Foundation manages more than one hundred endowments that benefit eight counties. Four are “community-based” and benefit the City of Parsons and the Canaan Valley, Davis, and Thomas areas of Tucker County.
Two high- impact endowments, the Louise Harman Fund and the William Harman Memorial Fund, were created from the donor’s estate to benefit the City of Parsons. The funds generate over $800,000 annually for Parsons City Cemetery, Mill Race Park and River City Park, Five Rivers Public Library, and other projects that benefit the citizens of Parsons.
Louise Poffenbarger graduated Parsons High School in 1924 and married William Harman that same year. The Harman’s maintained a modest residence in Parsons where he practiced law for fifty years and served as president and legal counsel for the First National Bank of Parsons. He died in 1971 at the age of 70 following an illness of a few weeks. The value of his estate at that time was $270,000. As sole beneficiary (the couple had no children) Louise obtained a court order so that proceeds from his estate would establish the William Mahan Harman Memorial Fund at her death. When she died in 2002, the value of his estate exceeded $12 million.
The Sarah Thompson Kaemmerling Fund was established by her estate in 2005 for “charitable, educational or scientific activities for the promotion of science, health, education, good citizenship and the well-doing and well-being of mankind” with preference given to requests from the Canaan Valley / Davis / Thomas areas of Tucker County. The Thompson family roots are deep in Tucker County. They formed the Blackwater Lumber Company in the late 1800’s in Davis which was succeeded by the Thompson Lumber Company making them the leading producers of lumber in the Canaan Valley and surrounding area during the boom times. Family members still reside on the family farm in Canaan Valley.
The newest community based fund on the TCF roster is the Taylor, Beall & Snyder Family Fund started in 2015 by Diane and Roscoe Beall to benefit the Canaan Valley Volunteer Fire Department (CV VFD) Auxiliary. The fund provides perpetual support for ongoing repairs, maintenance and improvements of the kitchen and fire hall which are used extensively by the community and funds can also provide support for other auxiliary activities of the CV VFD. The fund pays tribute to Roscoe’s parents, Diane’s father, mother and step-father.
Four endowments are providing perpetual support for local churches.
The Valentine Family Fund provides funding for the Parsons Presbyterian Church. Gene Valentine was a 1943 graduate of Parsons High School and a 1947 graduate of Davis & Elkins College, Elkins, WV. A lifelong member of the Parsons Presbyterian Church, she made provisions in her estate to establish the fund.
The Nan Parsons Presbyterian Church Fund, established in 1997, provides support for Parsons Presbyterian Church. One of four children, Nan Lee was born in 1895 and began her education at “the little red school house” in Holly Meadows. She organized the local chapter of the Order of Eastern Star in 1921-22 and the first 4-H club in Tucker County.
The Richard & Mary J. Raines Harr Fund benefits the Buena Chapel United Methodist Church in Canaan Valley. Mary was secretary/treasurer of the church for many years and Richard served as superintendent from l964-1997, taught the adult Sunday School class for over 40 years, and rarely missed a Sunday in his long life. He was a talented musician and orator who often entertained at senior outposts. The couple’s family farm is now home to Canaan Valley State Park.
The Denver & Ethel Raines Smith Memorial Fund was established by their eight children to benefit the St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Parsons, WV. Longtime residents of the Holly Meadows area they collectively served 75 years as members of the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
Estate planning plays a critical role in the sustainability and future development of our communities. Keeping wealth local makes sense. Tucker Community Foundation’s Estate Planning guide is a user-friendly document that contains sample bequest language. Donors can gift cash, appreciated securities, life insurance, charitable remainder trusts, retirement accounts, and other assets that may be subject to review and approval. Visit http://www.tuckerfoundation.net/become-a-donor/estate-planning/ for more information.
For up-to-date information about Tucker Community Foundation visit www.facebook.com/tucker.commfound.