Laura Hardy's Blessings

In March 2013, Linda Jo Scott honored historic Black leaders who have helped guide our world, nation, and local communities toward freedom. In April 2013, Endowment Committee Chair Marjorie Porter honors the blessing of Laura Hardy’s legacy to our church. 

Laura’s legacy to our church is manifold and far too big to capture on a page of text, not to mention her legacies to her friends, her family, and the other communities she belonged to. We have just learned that Laura Hardy’s legacy to UUCGL includes a very generous bequest.

I first met Laura in the winter of 1990 at the Saturday morning screenings in church of Joseph Campbell’s TV series The Power of Myth. Laura spoke less than the rest of us, as I recall, entering the discussion only when she had an insightful, provocative, concisely articulated contribution to make.

When I agreed to chair the Endowment Committee around 2001, Laura was the member on whom I relied for institutional history, good ideas, and incisive feedback. She helped me interview George Thornton for a story about him and his gift to the Endowment Fund. Sometimes she would suggest that we walk together to call on a shut-in, or she’d offer me a ride in her red truck out in the country to get our Peg Higbee fix. Our conversations were never idle chit-chat. Laura would ask me penetrating questions about my views on political issues or on the health, especially the financial health, of the church. She cared passionately about our church and the importance of liberal religion.

Laura didn’t like to talk about herself, and it was only after she died that I learned from Ruth Carpenter about her earlier roles in the church. Laura joined the church in 1984, sang in the choir, served on the Board, and volunteered meals, rides, and dog walking when members needed help. The late Helen Weaver was one whom Laura spent endless hours helping toward the end of Helen’s life. When Cynthia Alderson died, Laura gave Cynthia’s aging cat Vinnie a loving home. And when Laura was dying, Ruth promised to take loving care of Vinnie in her turn. As Vinnie and Ruth’s cat had no use for each other, Ruth went next door faithfully several times a day to care for Vinnie, keeping her alive much longer than the vet thought possible.

 In order to be the generous supporter that she was of our church and other causes she cared about, to respond to the needs of others, and also to be a faithful steward of the earth’s resources, Laura lived very frugally. Ruth told me Laura kept her thermostat at 65 degrees in winter and never had air conditioning. Taking short showers, washing her hands in cold water, recycling religiously, Laura conserved resources and saved money that she gave liberally to, among other things, secure the future of our church.

Our Endowment Fund comprises the accumulated gifts, made largely by bequest, of many generous members and friends who choose to make gifts that will support the church in perpetuity. You will find their names, except for those who chose to remain anonymous, on a plaque recognizing donors to the Endowment Fund in the hallway just west of the front door. Also listed there are donors to the recently established Flexible Endowment Fund, which can be applied to a building fund when needed.