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Published: Wednesday, 2/8/2006

8 groups to share bequest of $3M


VAN WERT - A Van Wert County couple who had no children have left some $3 million to organizations they hope will benefit countless others.

"They were obviously very generous people and felt that when they were both gone they wanted to care for their community and care for their church," said Van Wert attorney Stephen Keister, co-trustee of the Neubrecht Living Trust, which was created in 1997.

A lifelong farmer and World War II veteran, Donald R. Neubrecht died on March 11, 2004. His wife, Mary Pauline Neubrecht was a registered surgical nurse at Van Wert County Hospital who died July 30, 2005. Both were in their 80s when they died, Mr. Keister said.

The couple's trust is being divided among eight organizations that will each receive at least 10 percent of their estate, Mr. Keister said.

The recipients are the Council on Development for the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Van Wert County Hospital

Endowment Fund, the Van Wert County Foundation, the Lincolnview Board of Education, Otterbein St. Marys Retirement Community, the Cancer Research Foundation of America, the National Heart Foundation, and the Alzheimer Disease Research Fund.

Mr. Keister said some of the gifts were unrestricted, while others specify how the money is to be used. The contribution to the Van Wert County Foundation, for example, is to be used to establish scholarships for county students planning to enter nursing and agriculture.

Lincolnview Local Schools Superintendent Doug Fries said the school board decided to use its share of the Neubrechts' trust to build an 80-seat lecture hall in their name as part of a building project in the district.

"It will be used as a study hall and testing room during the school day and then the board's vision is to make that lecture hall available to the community for meetings in the evening," Mr. Fries said. "They thought it was a way to touch the entire community."

At Otterbein St. Marys Retirement Community in St. Marys, Ohio, the Neubrechts asked that an endowment be created and the interest earned from the fund be used to assist needy residents, Executive Director Marlen Yost said. "When people move here, if their resources are depleted and they're not in the nursing home where Medicaid will pick up, we assure them we won't ask them to leave," Mr. Yost said. "Through this endowment, every year there will be so much money to help support that, which is a wonderful legacy."

Mr. Neubrecht served on an advisory committee that helped plan the development of Otterbein, Mr. Yost said, and in the 1990s, the Neubrechts moved into a two-bedroom house at the community. When they developed health problems, both eventually moved to the nursing home at the campus, which also has apartments and assisted-living units.

"They were just wonderful and they obviously had a heart for wanting to help other people," Mr. Yost said.

Contact Jennifer Feehan

at: jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-353-5972.

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