Tyler Sequoia Society: Estate Giving Donor Stories

While there are many ways to support Tyler with your gifts, many donors have chosen to give through their estates. Read these inspiring stories to learn more about preserving Tyler for future generations.

Judy and Bill Strine

When Judy and Bill Strine talk about Tyler, they acknowledge our historical legacy and current relevance to the community while voicing their hopes for tomorrow’s Arboretum.

As long-standing supporters with a significant commitment to Tyler, Judy and Bill know their subject well. Judy served on Tyler’s Board of Trustees and committees for over nine years. Judy and Bill play a large role in the continuing success of our Tyler at Twilight auction as well as Circle of Friends members, and generous supporters of the Annual Fund.

Judy and Bill added to their already deep commitment by including Tyler in their estate plans. They urge others to follow suit: “It is one thing to love and enjoy this marvelous place while we are here. It is better yet to be able to assure that those coming after us will be able to enjoy it as we have.”

The Strines appreciate Tyler’s role as educator, especially with the more than 9,200 school children – “those coming after us” – that visit each year. “Education programs are critical,” says Judy. “They are one of the most important programs that we offer. At Tyler, children have the opportunity to walk and learn first-hand about our environment. They are able to develop an appreciation for birds, trees and flowers.”

By giving to Tyler through their estate, Judy and Bill Strine have generously helped ensure Tyler’s role as a unique and relevant community resource for natural open spaces, horticulture, environmental education and local history. We truly appreciate their thoughtfulness and generosity.

To let Judy and Bill have the last word: “If we think Tyler is a precious treasure, we all have to work to preserve it so that our children and grandchildren will have Tyler to enjoy.”

John and Gertrude Wister

In May 2001, Tyler Arboretum received a $2.7 million gift from the estate of Gertrude and John Wister, the largest such gift in our history.

Dr. Wister, who died in 1982, was the Arboretum’s first director and a nationally renowned horticulturalist. Under Dr. Wister’s guidance, the Arboretum collections were significantly expanded to include the best of natural, historic and contemporary ornamental trees and shrubs for the region. Mrs. Wister, who was also widely recognized in the horticultural field, served Tyler for more than 50 years as Trustee, Acting Director, Assistant Director and thoughtful donor until her death in 1999.

“Mrs. Wister had a special place in her heart for Tyler,” explains Executive Director Rick Colbert. “We’re very grateful for this gift and for her tremendous faith and confidence in us. Tyler will be a stronger arboretum as a result of the Wisters’ generosity.”

The Wisters designated their gift for Tyler’s endowment, the annual interest of which helps fund horticulture and public relations staff positions. Their gift also provided essential “seed money” for the ongoing restoration of the Rhododendron Collection.

By including Tyler Arboretum in their estate, the Wisters provided a lasting legacy that truly reflects their long-standing commitment to Tyler.

Conard and Anne Donnell

Diversity, one of the Arboretum’s strengths, attracted Anne Donnell and her late husband, Conard, to Tyler and is also why they decided to include Tyler in their estate plans.

“We belonged to numerous gardens in the area, but we really appreciated Tyler’s efforts to attract a diverse audience, especially with school children,” Anne says. “It is very important to educate children and help the next generation understand the importance of preserving ecosystems like those found at Tyler.”

Anne and Conard strongly believed in Tyler’s education programs for children and adults and felt it important to provide support for the Arboretum’s community outreach. “Encouraging education in its many forms at Tyler is definitely a priority,” states Anne. “Conard and I certainly enjoyed our own share of wonderful learning experiences throughout the years here.”

We are indebted to Anne and Conard Donnell for their recognition of our strengths in diversity and education programming. By making Tyler part of their estate giving, they help ensure Tyler’s mission while at the same time, providing a wonderful example to inspire others.

To learn how you can support Tyler Arboretum with an estate gift, please contact:
Mary Beth Jackson
Director of Development
610-566-9134,  ext. 206

The material presented by Tyler Arboretum is not offered as legal or tax advice.