Donor Spotlight

Donor Spotlight

Jo Ellen Diehl Yeary | Generosity rooted in pride, remembrance, dedication to home

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Hazel Syphers | Christmas Wish Fund

Gerald and Hazel Syphers early day - Copy
When we talk about a gift that keeps on giving, we don’t usually mean it literally. Hazel Syphers of Morgan County, however, took the expression to heart. When she passed away in 2014 at the age of 100, she left behind a gift that will have the children of Morgan County unwrapping presents for years to come.

If you asked anyone in Morgan County about Hazel Syphers, you’d hear the same thing, “She was very smart.” You would hear stories of how she could have been a doctor or a nurse because of her way with medicine and the expert care she gave her husband Gerald in his final years. You would also hear about how Hazel and her husband were devoted to each other, their McConnelsville farm, and their community.

Hazel and Gerald lived quietly and simply. Their grand-niece Marsha Long remembers staying summers with Hazel and Gerald as a child, helping with farm chores, walking on the backs of sheep, and letting her imagination run wild in the woods with their dog, Rover. She also thinks she went home ten pounds heavier from all the food Hazel fed her.

“They loved kids,” shared Marsha. “She was good with kids and she adored them. They never had any of their own.”

So perhaps it should have come as no surprise when Hazel left a series of gifts in her will for the Morgan Community Fund and other organizations that showed her love for Morgan County and its children.

Hazel knew she wanted every Morgan County child to open a Christmas present, but it was only after she learned about the Morgan Community Fund that she saw a way to do it. With her gift, the Morgan Community Fund will be working to ensure kids who might not otherwise have something to open on Christmas morning will be able to join the celebration.

Through the Morgan Community Fund, Hazel’s gift will be forever managed, invested, and cared for to assure it will help generations of children celebrate Christmas with excitement, wide eyes, and joy.

Led by a local, volunteer committee, the Morgan Community Fund is a Family of Funds managed and supported by the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for all people of Morgan County, both now and in the future. The Morgan Community Fund not only awards grants and makes investments in the community, but it gives citizens – past, present, and future – the opportunity to give back locally, just as Hazel Syphers has done through her estate.

In addition to her gift to the Morgan Community Fund, Hazel also invested in the Morgan County Historical Society, Morgan County United Ministries, and the Pennsville Church of Christ through her estate. Together, Hazel’s final gifts are celebrating the county’s past while uplifting its future by supporting children. Now that’s truly a reason to be merry.