Bruce Angell speaks fondly and in exquisite detail about the time he met his wife, Betty. The date was September 18, 1966, just a few days into their freshman year at Defiance (Ohio) College. Bruce had come to Defiance focused on becoming the first in his family to graduate from college. Betty was a Massachusetts native whose United Church of Christ pastor had recommended she attend Defiance.
A half century later, the two are powerful partners. Bruce and Betty fell in love, graduated and got married in 1971. Then life got real. Bruce was part of the very first draft lottery during the Vietnam War, when the likelihood of being called to duty was based mostly on luck. Bruce had a low number, so he enlisted, got stationed in Hawaii, earned the rank of sergeant and served three years. Betty joined Bruce on his Army tour.
He recalls the lean early years when the couple made $238 per month. “We knew what it was like to be broke,” he said. Even so, they committed to saving “a little bit of money” each pay day, a personal finance strategy that would prove beneficial.
Upon his discharge, Bruce and Betty returned stateside to begin their careers as teachers. En route from Hawaii to Ohio, they took time to explore the Pacific Northwest, an excursion that fueled their love of travel, a passion that has seen them find adventure in England, Scotland and Wales. They ultimately settled in Galion, where Betty became a dedicated fourth grade teacher, and Bruce taught at the high school, where he also coached wrestling.
They’ve lived in Galion ever since.
Of the many words that might describe Bruce — enthusiastic, self-made, investor, instructor — energetic may be the most appropriate. He’s a dynamo, forever moving (rapidly) from one topic to another with insight, purpose, drive and wizened perspective. He’s also a skilled wood craftsman who, in concert with Betty, literally hand-built their lovely home. Some describe him as a modern Renaissance Man.
Betty, by contrast, is quiet and reserved, yet also engaged. She provides stability and support to his many and varied causes. They share many interests together.
Bruce and Betty get things done. Since retiring at age 60 thanks to his financial acumen, they’re involved with numerous local projects in Galion, including private home restorations and providing zero-interest mortgages to help others in need of a hand up. “If we can help somebody else, then let’s do it,” said Bruce, who’s aware their blessings were always intended to be shared. “More toys won’t make you happy.”
Bruce and Betty have long been ambitious leaders at their UCC church in Galion, supporting capital needs with donations and active volunteering. It was there they first learned about Fairhaven Community and United Church Homes from their pastor, Rev. John Miller, the former administrator at Fairhaven.
Through Rev. Miller, the Angells learned about the benevolent care provided by the UCH Fairhaven ministry. Bruce and Betty, inspired by the dedication to their faith, concluded that Fairhaven was “a noble cause.” Together they decided to begin providing philanthropic support.
Bruce and Betty don’t do anything halfway. They dive in, get involved and make a difference. That’s why they became major donors to Fairhaven’s capital campaign to help fund the extensive $5 million renovation project that’s now underway to enhance resident rooms and community spaces. They feel strongly about making a generous gift to the Annual Fund. They became Pillar Society members by virtue of including United Church Homes in their estate plans.
After learning that more than 70 percent of Fairhaven’s residents rely on Medicaid to pay for their ongoing care, Bruce and Betty enthusiastically encourage others to get involved. “The more you do, the more you get in return,” said Bruce.
They’re completely aligned with the mission of United Church Homes to transform Aging by building a culture of community, wholeness and peace. The couple recently toured Fairhaven to see firsthand the changes that the renovation project was creating. They were delighted with the progress that’s been made. “Fairhaven embodies the reason why we got involved,” said Bruce. “Being able to observe staff interacting with residents, we could feel the outpouring of love. It was something to see!”
During their tour, Bruce and Betty visited a resident who formerly attended their church. It was a powerful reminder as to why they’re involved, despite the 30 miles that separate Fairhaven from Galion.
The Angells are living angels to those whose lives have been touched by their generosity. We are proud to know them and grateful to benefit from their good works in the community. Bruce will be honored as the recipient of the 2015 Ben M. Herbster award for Fairhaven Community, and will be recognized at the annual Donor Appreciation Dinner in June.