Hager-Lacey Memorial Scholarship
Julia Hager's Legacy
Julia Hager was born on the family farm just north of Walkerville in 1902, the oldest of 5 children. She graduated from Walkerville High School with just five other classmates and received her teaching certificate from Oceana County Normal and Western Michigan Teacher’s College in Kalamazoo. She first traveled the country as an elementary teacher and taught in the cities of Chicago, Des Moines and Muskegon and then in her retirement - she traveled the world. When she was done traveling, she returned to Walkerville and the family farm and lived out her retirement with her youngest brother Art. They lived a quiet life together tending gardens and feeding the birds.Julia never married or drove a car but she became the founding donor of the Oceana Community Foundation. With the help of her banker and trusted friend, Paul Erickson, she established a charitable gift annuity with assets of $200,000. The annuity provided her a fixed income stream to pay her bills in her declining years and upon her death in 1997 established the Hager-Lacey Memorial Scholarship Fund. Along with the remainder of her estate, her total contribution was close to $400,000. Her gift also led to the very first foundation affiliate agreement being written in the state of Michigan. The Oceana Foundation was born as an official affiliate of the Muskegon Foundation in 1989. It was her dream that her love and respect of education would be her perpetual gift to the graduates of Oceana County.
The Hager Lacey Memorial Scholarship Fund is an excellent demonstration of how endowment works. Since the fund began awarding scholarships 10 years ago, over $251,750 in scholarships to 125 students have been distributed. And the fund value today is still valued at $400,000! When Julia passed in 1997, she knew she was the last in the line of Hagers - who at one time were a very large and successful family of farmers & cattleman in Hart. What she didn’t know is that while the family name no longer lives on in person, it lives on exponentially in the lives she has & will touch through her scholarship fund.
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