Westmont Magazine A Family Legacy
Gift From Alumna’s Estate Will Benefit Westmont Endowment
The first in her family to attend college, Maureen Erickson Reyes ’52 fulfilled her parents’ dreams when she graduated from Westmont with a degree in sociology. The Ericksons had become believers a few years before her birth and encouraged their daughter to choose a Christian college where her faith would flourish.
Maureen’s college experience more than met their expectations. “My four years at Westmont were the best in my life,” she said 50 years later. “The Bible training meant so much to me. It’s difficult to find that kind of teaching in the church.
“The two most important influences in my life were Westmont and my parents,” Maureen said. So when she inherited the Ericksons’ 350-acre Oregon ranch, she wanted to fulfill their desires for the property. “My parents had one prayer for the ranch; that it be used for the Lord’s work,” she wrote in 2004. “They offered it several times with no takers. The Lord has answered their prayers through me. I have been praying continually for ways to use the money from the ranch to increase the Lord’s money.”
The answer was leaving the property to Westmont so it could support the college’s mission of Christian higher education. Despite her sudden death in December 2004 at the age of 74, Maureen accomplished this goal — she had already established a charitable remainder trust that named Westmont as the beneficiary.
“The two most important influences in my life were Westmont and my parents,” Maureen said.
“Maureen was very savvy when it came to putting her affairs in order,” says Iva Schatz, director of planned giving at Westmont. “Over the years, she worked with a number of college officials to make sure her wishes were fulfilled. She sought advice first from John Watts, then from Glen Adams and from me and finally from Nancy Christel, executive director of endowment growth. Thanks to all these consultations, she was able to set up a charitable remainder trust that will yield more than $1 million for Westmont. She was a good steward of God’s gifts.”
Active and involved until the end, Maureen worked in two different professions. For 33 years, she served as a case worker, supervisor and program analyst for Oregon’s welfare agency and also directed the state’s refugee program. Committed to helping people, Maureen decided to earn a nursing degree at the age of 60. She worked as a staff nurse for the Red Cross and owned and operated an adult foster home. Shortly before her death, she renewed her nursing license and planned to continue working part time. Her husband, Peter, died in 2003.
For more information about charitable remainder trusts, contact Nancy Christel or Iva Hillegas Schatz in the Office of Gift Planning, 805-565-6058 or 800-998-5652.