United Church Homes recently learned that it is the beneficiary of a $4.2 million gift from the Ruth A. Stonebrook Trust, with the funds specifically designated to be used to benefit Chapel Hill Community in Canal Fulton, Ohio. The gift is the second largest ever recorded in the history of United Church Homes.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!
Eugene Peterson, The Message,
“Her gift truly opens up a realm of possibilities for Chapel Hill that we will identify over the next few months,” said Rev. Ken Daniel, president and CEO. “This is a wonderful example of working with someone who believes in our mission and wants to support us.”
Ruth A. (nee Bauer) Stonebrook was born in Arlington, Ohio, in rural Hancock County in 1913, and graduated from Wittenberg University in Springfield. She taught at Washington Elementary School in Findlay for a time in the 1930s.
Her first husband, James Stewart, died during World War II and was post-humously honored with a Silver Star for bravery. Her second husband, Howard Stonebrook, was president of Citizen’s National Bank in New Philadelphia for 20 years. He passed away in 1968.
The couple were upstanding pillars of the New Philadelphia community. Howard served as chairman of the Union Hospital Committee in the 1940s, while Ruth was a trustee of the County Library. Both were actively engaged in the First United Church of Christ in New Philadelphia, where Ruth was an organist and pianist, and had the distinction of serving as the first female elder of the congregation.
Ruth Stonebrook transferred her engagement with the UCC into a keen interest in Chapel Hill, located 35 miles from her home. Ruth was active in multiple facets of resident life at Chapel Hill. She served as a member of the Friends of Chapel Hill (see From the CEO column), and was a long-standing supporter of Chapel Hill, to the extent that she is cited as the only member of the Charter Circle, honoring individuals with one-time donations in the range of $250,000 to $499,999. The Stonebrook Dining Room at Chapel Hill was dedicated in 1995 in loving memory of her husband.
Ruth’s support of Chapel Hill was long-standing and significant. That explains why she was chosen to receive the first-ever Herbster Award bestowed by Chapel Hill in 1986. She cherished the vase she received upon being recognized for her support and commitment. Her name appears multiple times on the bronze plaques located in the Chapel Hill Grand Entry.
Ruth ultimately moved to Chapel Hill as a resident herself for a brief period of time, where she was fondly recalled by staff members who remember her passion and commitment. Ruth passed away in November 2012.
Her gift was cultivated nearly 30 years ago in the 1980s and will now be used to the greater glory of God. “It’s humbling when someone chooses our organization to be the recipient of their generosity,” said Gloria Hurwitz, vice president of advancement. “Gifts like this compel us to provide prudent, forward-looking stewardship.”
Interviewed in 1996 regarding the trust she established, Ruth said, “Chapel Hill is a special place where you can see how your gift is being used. I chose to set up my trust with Chapel Hill because it’s a wise investment.”
“We give thanks and praise God for people of faith like Ruth Stonebrook,” said Rev. Ken Daniel.