Meet Our Community Member Donors

We thank all our planned-gift donors for their generous support. Here are some of their stories.

Windmuller Legacy Benefits Kendal at Ithaca

WindmullersBetsey Roberts tells the story with satisfaction in her voice — even though the interview is at seven A.M.! Her parents thrived at Kendal; they discovered that they had more resources than they would need, and the discovery enabled them to become philanthropists in their later years. Betsey said she and her brother Tom were surprised — and pleased — to discover a listing of small but regular charitable gifts her mother had quietly made to more than one hundred organizations!

Ruth H. and John P. Windmuller were founding residents at Kendal. Health concerns made the new community up on the hill a welcome option, and life at Kendal proved just the right choice for them. They had lived in Ithaca nearly 50 years, and had many friends there. John had built the kind of professional reputation that later would earn him the honor of the John P. Windmuller Chair in International and Comparative Labor, established in Nov. 2008. Ruth raised two children, managed their home, and took the lead in community life.

Ruth and John knew each other as teenagers; both were Holocaust survivors aboard the famous SS St. Louis that sailed from Hamburg, Germany on May 13, 1939 but was turned away from port in Havana and Miami, so it returned to Europe and both children went to a children’s home in France where they met. Sailing on different decks of the same ship, they did not know each other until they both landed at the French home!

Decades later Ruth observed Kendal’s full range of care as John’s health required first assisted living and then skilled care. Gratitude for the quality of his personal care and the relationships that went along with it motivated Ruth. She endowed the Windmuller Classical Concert Fund in John’s memory. Through her estate, Ruth made a generous bequest to the Rainy Day Fund.

And her children are following suit. Betsey and Tom gave Ruth’s car to the community, and have planted trees in memory of their parents. Betsey observed that her mother wanted other people to have the same Kendal experience as she and John did; planting trees is a statement about someone else sitting under trees they did not plant, just as they inherited in our time the shade of someone else’s labor.

What passion did Ruth exhibit in her later years? Betsey answers without hesitation — Ruth was a staunch advocate for Kendal’s residents and employees — and their rights. She knew firsthand that the staff are key to the experience of residents. And how in keeping with John’s career in labor relations!

Now one of several second generation philanthropists to Kendal, Betsey looks forward to a future when she will leave Southern California for Ithaca, to take up residence at Kendal. There are friends waiting for her at Kendal, among both staff and residents. Friendships just happen when you start spending time at Kendal, she says.

Pete Rider Remembers Kendal at Ithaca

By Patricia Williams for the Community Development Committee

Pete RiderSome of us remember Pete Rider riding his tricycle with the American flag waving on the back and his big hat and bigger smile as he came to the Community Center for his mail and to enjoy dinner in the Windows Dining Room.

Pete made a generous bequest to the Kendal at Ithaca Rainy Day Fund which helps Kendal residents in need of special financing. We were surprised and pleased by his thoughtfulness but it typifies his long life of service to others.

Pete was born in Brooklyn, NY in April 1917 and died at Kendal at Ithaca in January 2007 just shy of his 90th birthday. He moved to Kendal in 1999 and enjoyed the independence of living in a cottage. He moved to the Health Center shortly before his death.

He was a lifelong teacher having received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Education from Oswego State Teachers College in New York. He taught industrial arts and driver education in several school districts in New York State. After he stopped teaching he drove the school bus for several years.

Pete served in the United States Navy from February 1944 until April 1946. He was a Navy Civil Service teacher for 2 years prior to his induction. He was assigned to the USS Dixie and spent some time in Shanghai.

He had a special interest in Native American youth and contributed to a number of charities that supported Native American education. He set up an education fund for one particular Native American boy and developed a close friendship with the family. He created an education fund for that young man, his younger brother and a cousin. Throughout his life he supported youth while they were attending college.

He loved the outdoors and was an accomplished skier — both downhill and cross country. He enjoyed hiking and sailing and was a skilled wood worker. He taught sailing at a YMCA camp on Lake George for many years. He moved to Jackson, WY for about 10 years and enjoyed skiing and hiking in the mountains and photographing wildflowers. His niece describes him as a kid who never grew up but who enjoyed teaching and helping others. Through his gift to Kendal at Ithaca’s Rainy Day Fund, Pete continues to give of himself to others.

This information is shared with the permission of Pete’s family and we are appreciative of their assistance in providing additional personal data to us.