Almost 60 years ago Ramona Swanick and new husband Bill moved to Libertyville. And they soon made their church home at the Methodist church. Their family became deeply involved – in the Couples Club and adult Sunday School. Ramona and Bill served on most every committee and group the church offered. And these many years later though her service on church committees has ended, Ramona continues to attend that Sunday School class, which operates as a “discussion group – sometimes religious!”
Ramona’s Faith Roots ground her. “It runs deep within in, the closeness to God.” She and daughter Beth recall Aunts Laura and Hazel, most influential Christian role models. Aunt Laura became a missionary in China in 1908, establishing a school and bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to Chinese people for 40 years. As World War II was beginning, Laura returned to Canada and recruited Ramona’s sister Hazel to take her place. Hazel continued the school, including girls in its programs and worked diligently as a Church Planter until the communist revolution. Placed under house arrest in the 1952, she was later deported. Hazel began a new faith-chapter, and in 1965 was one of the first women ordained in the United Church of Canada.
Ramona’s faith journey is anchored in Libertyville, yet is rich and varied like her aunts. She has led youth groups, taught Sunday School, participated in WSCS and UMW, chaired Staff Parish and Ad Councils. For many years she organized the long-time twice-annual church rummage sale. Her husband Bill offered his service on the few committees where she didn’t serve: Finance and Trustees.
When Bill died within a year of his long-time neighbor, Christian mentor and Libertyville UMC member Ralph Jones, the two families began to think about a legacy gift that would honor these men, their service and their faith. Today Libertyville UMC has re-purposed the original narthex off the front entrance into the East Room, a lovely meeting and fellowship space which includes a kitchenette, thanks to Ramona’s insistence!
As she developed her own estate plans more recently, Ramona reflected upon the legacy she wants to leave. Though her Christian service has been through Libertyville UMC, Ramona’s faith roots travel to China and the world. So she has established charitable gifts annuities, three of them to date. They will provide a guaranteed stream of income for her and daughter’s lives. And then the remainders will go to Libertyville UMC and to the United Methodist Foundation. Like the work of her aunts, Ramona’s gift to the Foundation’s permanent funds is a legacy that will bring resources for ministry to future generations.
A Postscript: Daughter Beth Swanick recalls that the Libertyville church sponsored several candidates for ministry, including Foundation President Harry Nicol.
Long-time United Methodists Dick and Phyllis Tholin aren’t really concerned about leaving a legacy – they are too busy living their legacy.
A long-time member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Phyllis champions this and other women’s issues. She uses her voice, her connections within and outside the church and ongoing “work in the trenches” as a passionate advocate: for respect and acceptance of all God’s children, fair trade, equal opportunities. One might run into Phyllis pricing items for the church Thrift Shop, advocating for eco-friendly products, or distributing “I’m a Fan of Birth Control” paper fans to keep the issue out, in front of folks.
Dick is working with the “Occupy Wall Street” group in Evanston to convince city officials that city money should be invested with local banks who, in turn, offer loans and services to local residents and business. Many NIC pastors contemplated the role of the Church in Society and Christian Ethics in this professor’s classes at ETS and later at Garrett. He serves on the board of Chicago Area Peace Actions (CAPA). Dick explains that his days of church committee work are past, but he proudly offers a ministry of presence and support at most every function at his church, United Church of Rogers Park UMC.
Thanks to some prodding from their daughters, the Tholins recently made a legacy gift to North Central College. Dick gathered his “Chicago Collection” of books over many years (and during many family vacations.) North Central offers a Chicago Studies Program, and so the college welcomed his donation of more than 2,000 volumes, housing them in a special section of the school library. This gift is the most comprehensive collection on the topic in the western suburbs.
Phyllis and Dick are proud and active members at United Church of Rogers Park (UCRP). They share stories of this diverse congregation involved in dynamic, community-based ministry: Peace Circles, welcoming male teens several evenings each week to talk, listen and write about non-violence and respect; after-school and summer programs for neighborhood children; the Ibeji Women’s Project celebrating and empowering women; a weekly, free Community Feast that serves 100+ for more than 28 years.
Their passion for ministries at UCRP prompted the Tholins to make a second legacy gift through a charitable gift annuity. This “life income” gift will provide an income stream for the couple during their lifetimes. And when they die, the remainder will go to support the ministries of United Church of Rogers Park.
Charles and Bernice Klosterman
When he call
ed, I recognized his voice right away. Charles Klosterman had been the Secretary of the NIC for many years. In that capacity his voice was often heard at annual conference. Read more
They have had quit a life. They raised three children and Bob founded an ink-making business, which he owned for almost 30 years. Faithful members of First United Methodist Church of Elmhurst Curlie continues to spend early mornings weekly… Read more
A 59-year resident of Park Ridge and First United Methodist Church, Lois loved to be involved in Win/Win situations. With her 88th birthday, it was time to consider moving closer to family. She sold her home and settled in a retirement community in sunny California only one mile from her daughter. Read more
“Bob and I wanted to give a tithe of our estate to mission and ministry.” Frances Schumm shared the couple’s philosophy of giving, both as a life-long practice through pledges and offerings, and from the accumulated assets of their estate. Read more
A Legacy for Children
A very active United Methodist couple from Northern Illinois Conference offers this model of lifelong generosity. They have had a special love for children for a very long time.They ask that we withhold their names, but they are willing to share their powerful story. Read more
Florence and Bill Heidemann
In 1999, Bill and Florence Heidemann purchased a Charitable Gift Annuity through the United Methodist Foundation. ChildServ would benefit from this gift annuity at the time of the death of both Bill and Florence. The annuity of $49,500 was funded with appreciated stock. Read more