The late Gertrude “Gertie” Stubbs made a long-lasting impact on United Church Homes’ Fairhaven Community in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. United Church Homes’ computer donor records go back to the early 1980s, showing Gertie began giving in 1983 and continued for a total of 22 years before her passing in May 2009 at the age of 98.
In 1999, Gertie worked with UCH leadership staff to create the Gertrude Stubbs Transportation Endowment Fund for Fairhaven with a major gift of $300,000, established to provide funding for the ever-increasing need for transportation for older adults. It was Gertie’s largest donation, although it wasn’t exclusive as she continued to make other donations through the years, including another major gift of $100,000 to support an endowment for staff uniforms.
“Gertie’s husband, Don, was a resident on the second floor for many years,” said Karen Webb, director of nursing. “That is how we all became acquainted with her. She was dedicated and faithful to her husband and visited him twice a day, every day. She not only provided care for her husband, but also identified needs of our staff.
“She once told me that the Lord blesses the silent giver,” Karen said. “And give she did. She created the uniform fund for our staff, purchased a van and assisted staff members on a personal level with whatever they might be going through. She would visit staff members who were ill, did laundry for residents requesting the service — the list goes on and on. Then, when Gertie reached the stage of life when she needed us, what a privilege it was to be able to care for her! She was a wonderful, giving and caring individual who served the Lord by serving others.”
Fairhaven currently has a 16-passenger bus, paid for by the endowment years after her passing, and a wheelchair-accessible van that is used to take residents to medical appointments and on activities and trips that help them stay actively engaged in the community. Fairhaven Community provides transportation for approximately 800 medical appointments for residents every year.
The community offers a low- to no-fee transportation program for residents. This is especially beneficial because many insurers do not cover transportation services. A $2,000 grant from the Wyandot County Community Foundation and the endowment fund enable Fairhaven to cover a greater share of transportation costs, which helps residents stretch their personal dollars even further.
The transportation program is not Gertie’s only legacy at Fairhaven. She funded the construction of a garage, the Stubbs Garage. The former Stubbs Behavioral Care Unit also was named after Gertie.
“Mother loved the people of Fairhaven,” said Judy Horobec, Gertie’s daughter. “I hope her story encourages others to give. She had a real passion for giving back to residents.”
Ruth Adams, who knew Gertie for more than 20 years and served on the Volunteer Service Group with her, said her friend accepted the call for assistance, no matter the need.
“She was such a giver,” Ruth said. “A lot of it she did anonymously. She was always doing something.”
Gertie offered communion to Catholic residents every Saturday and organized style shows to help raise funds for Fairhaven. “She would talk to the local stores and get all the clothes,” Ruth said. “She was always there. If there was anything to be done, Gertie did it.”