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Couple Continues 60 Years of Giving to Glenmary Through IRA Gifts, Bequest

Couple Continues 60 Years of Giving to Glenmary Through IRA Gifts, Bequest
JoAnn and Al Fluegeman

JoAnn Fluegeman remembers first reading about Glenmary Home Missioners in 1949, when she was just a junior at her Catholic high school. She was impressed, she says, by the fact that Glenmary was the only missionary society dedicated to serving home missions, not foreign missions.

“I wanted to help Glenmary because they were helping people in our own country who really needed it,” she says.

So this serious-minded 17-year-old girl started sending small donations that year. Sixty years later, she and her husband Al are still faithful supporters, and Glenmary is their top priority for charitable giving.

From 2006 through 2009, Al and JoAnn’s longtime belief in Glenmary culminated in their decision to give the society very generous annual gifts from their Individual Retirement Account (IRA). They’ve also named Glenmary a beneficiary in their will.

“We’re trying to give Glenmary the kind of support that will help them continue their work,” says JoAnn.

But these choices were also an outgrowth of the way the Cincinnati couple live—sharing their time, talent and treasure with people in need whenever they can. Al says the most important thing he’s learned can be summed up in one sentence: “The more you give, the more you get back.”

The giving started early. As an 11-year-old boy, Al started juggling schoolwork with a job to bring in extra money because his father was disabled. As the oldest child in her family, JoAnn at 16 handled the domestic duties during her mother’s extended illness while keeping up her grades.

Once they married in 1953, JoAnn found a new way to save money for donations to Glenmary. “Whatever costs I cut on grocery bills with coupons, I’d set aside that amount to give to Glenmary,” she says.

As the years went on, their family grew with the addition of five children, including three adopted children. After 56 years of marriage, they now have nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Since retiring, Al has been very active with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, currently serving as conference treasurer. He’s responsible for the organization’s Bob Rahe Mattress Fund, a citywide effort to provide beds and mattresses to the needy—over 2500 sets since 1994. And JoAnn helps him with this work.

Along the way, they’ve had the opportunity to attend Glenmary events and meet many Glenmary priests and brothers. “We’ve gotten to know and really like them,” says JoAnn. “Besides all their good work, they seem to have a great spirit of joy in living, humility and a great sense of humor.”

They also always read Glenmary publications with great interest. “It helps us understand their work with people in the rural areas and how they’re also spreading the Catholic faith,” says JoAnn.

When the couple are asked whether they’ll keep spending as much time helping others as they have in the past, they look at one another—and then JoAnn smiles and says, “As long as we’re able, we love doing it. And we want to keep helping Glenmary and the people in the missions.”