Our Donor Stories

Our Oldest Living Donor

Della KilbeyOur database said the year of birth was 2013 – that couldn’t be right!  But could it really be 1913?  Did we have a donor who was 102 years old?

Indeed we did, and since then Della Kilbey has celebrated her 103rd birthday.  As far as we know, that makes her the oldest living planned giving donor in the Eastern Synod, if not the entire ELCIC.

Della moves around her home in a retirement residence in Cambridge, ON with the aid of nothing more than a cane.  In spite of severe vision loss, she finds her way to the dining room and common areas by counting the number of steps, which she has memorized.  It was only four years ago, at age 99, that she moved from the house that she had lived in by herself ever since her husband Eddie died some 25 years ago.

Born in Chesley, ON and raised in Kitchener-Waterloo, Della moved with Eddie to Preston (now part of Cambridge) in 1954 “following the work”.  Both husband and wife found employment in the shoe factories that were once a prominent industry in the area.

In those days life revolved around the church: St. Peter’s in Preston.  With a group of women who became close friends, Della served in a variety of ways.  “We cooked food for the church suppers, we taught vacation Bible school – we were the hands and feet of the church”, she says with a laugh.

Her niece reminds Aunt Della that she was always careful about spending money.  “We paid cash in those days for everything, and if we didn’t have the money for something we just did without.”  Asked why she decided to include a gift to the church in her will, Della replies “I just thought I should do it.”  

Behind that simple comment lies an obvious affection for the church she has belonged to for more than 60 years.  Although her near-blindness makes it difficult to attend St. Peter’s, she keeps up on church news by having someone, either one of her nieces or a visiting communion minister from the congregation, read her the monthly newsletter.

At age 103 Della Kilbey’s general health is good.  With normal hearing, a remarkable memory and a ready laugh , she is a delightful person to chat with.  More than that, she gives every indication of remaining our oldest living donor for some time to come.


One Gift, Many Benefits for Good Shepherd Brockville

An anonymous donation was made to the congregation of Good Shepherd Brockville, to say the least it was a surprise and the donors made it free of any restrictions.

Good ShepardAs in the case of most churches by the middle of year, Good Shepherd was in a deficit. The gift would have helped the situation immensely. Our Pastor suggested to the congregational council that we look outside of ourselves and to the need of others. The decision was made to repay an outstanding loan and give 10% of the donation to others. The question now became; “With all the needs in the area and the world, who should receive the funds?”

The children of the Sunday School had been fund raising to purchase a well through CLWR. It was decided to support them and this worthy project.

It was suggest by a member of council that a “Sunday of Giving” be planned and invite members of the congregation to share the areas they volunteer and work in that would benefit from this financial support.  After the presentations were presented the congregation would vote on the one they thought was most in need. The results would be announced at the coffee fellowship time.

The Sunday chosen was Advent I with the presentations being made during the sermon time. (Our Pastor didn’t object!)

The time can and three people of the congregation came forward and shared the story about their group. The Good Shepherd Lutheran Women spoke about the work of CLWR. A person shared his involvement and the work of the local Civitan Club. They have supported a Christmas Dinner for over 125 people who are intellectually challenge for many years. The last presentation was made on behalf of Family and Children Services Lanark, Leeds and Grenville and the needs that are presented to them daily by needy families.

It came to vote. Ballots were placed out and people began to ponder which name to write on the slip of paper. A hand came up and a member stood and made an observation. In her heart she could not vote for just one. The presentations were all so meaningful and every group was deserving of our support.  Her suggestion was that the money we were offering to the winner be divided equally amongst these groups. The congregation gave an over whelming yes to the suggestion.

The congregation decision aligned perfectly with their mission "Sharing our gifts to be In Mission for Others. Small church, big hearts, serving one another within the church and community."


Gift of a renovated balcony, a new piano, and a new sound system for St. Luke's

Wilhelmina Schultz was a life-time member of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Kitchener.  She truly enjoyed Sunday worship services and the music program of the congregation.  She was actively involved in a variety of church programs, including teacher of the Sunday Church School program, and Financial Secretary for many years.  After she passed these duties on to others in the congregation, she continued to support the Sunday Church School program with her own set of “Sunday School” envelopes. Following her death, the congregation received notice that it had been named as a beneficiary of her estate.

St Luke's Council made the following designation of the funds in Wilhelmina's memory. Designated funds for the renovation of the choir loft/balcony to allow more flexibility for choir members, the hand bell choir, and other musicians (all of this work was done by volunteer members of the Property Committee). A new acoustic piano was purchased and dedicated in memory of Wilhelmina Schultz.        

Designated funds for upgrades of the church sound system and future video capabilities. Designated funds for the pay down the principal bank loan to repair the flat roof areas of the church building. Designated funds for the development and implementation of a new church website and church logo.