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Archive for Saturday, October 6, 2007

Oldfather legacy

The generosity of Tensie and Charley Oldfather will benefit Lawrence and Douglas County for generations to come.

October 6, 2007

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It's not often that someone makes as great an impact on a community as Tensie and Charley Oldfather did on Lawrence.

Whether the project was large or small, if they saw it as worthy, they would support it both philosophically and monetarily. Charley Oldfather died in 1996, and the death this week of Tensie Oldfather represents a real loss for Lawrence and Douglas County.

The Oldfathers, however, left a legacy that will preserve their memory for generations. Their gifts helped preserve Liberty Hall in downtown Lawrence and establish the Oldfather Studios at Kansas University and many, many other groups and causes in this area have benefited from gifts, both large and small, made by the couple.

The contribution for which they are most likely to be remembered, however, was the $4 million gift Tensie Oldfather made in 2000 to establish the Douglas County Community Foundation. The foundation, whose assets now have grown to about $10 million, is a way to provide ongoing support to worthy efforts in a community the Oldfathers obviously loved.

The Oldfathers had a large family - seven children, 17 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren - but it was their choice to live simply and share their wealth with a much wider family, all of Douglas County. County residents should be both grateful for and inspired by their generosity.

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