A Remarkable Act of Philanthropy: The Ursula M. Gibbs Endowments
Sue Gibbs lived a meaningful life and embodied many of the characteristics that a community values in its residents – humility, selflessness, and compassion towards others. Though born in Parkersburg, West Virginia, Sue soon moved to Hopewell and would call the city home, living most of her life in the Buren neighborhood. She graduated from Hopewell High School in 1934, going on to marry Louis C. Gibbs of Petersburg in 1939. The two quickly established residency in Sue’s childhood neighborhood and would live in that neighborhood for the remainder of their days.
Louis Gibbs worked for Norfolk & Western Railroad, beginning as a messenger and rising through the ranks to become yardmaster. Not long after the two were married, Louis lost his leg in a railroad accident, an event that only steeled his determination to succeed in all aspects of life.
Together, Louis and Sue lived a modest but fulfilling life, working hard, investing well, and giving to community causes. For over twenty years, Sue worked as Hopewell’s Deputy Commissioner of Revenue, cheerfully greeting the public with her trademark smile and laugh. In their spare time, Louis and Sue prepared houses to rent and sell. Together, they epitomized what it means to be ‘self-made’.
When Louis Gibbs passed away in 1982, Sue continued her good work in the community, cleaning up her neighborhood, gardening, and keeping up with friends. In the mid-1990’s, Sue was introduced to the John Randolph Foundation, and in 2003, she founded the Louis C. and Ursula M. “Sue” Gibbs Scholarship Fund to benefit college-bound high school students within the John Randolph Foundation’s service area.
Sue Gibbs touched many people in her lifetime, and because of one final generous act, her legacy will continue impacting the community for generations to come. Sue chose to include the John Randolph Foundation in her estate plans, and by doing so, at her death, she established four endowments that will benefit certain causes and touch lives here in Hopewell and surrounding localities in perpetuity.
- Ursula M. Gibbs Memorial Endowment, which will support the missions of the John Randolph Foundation
- Ursula M. Gibbs Medication Endowment Fund to assist residents of Hopewell and the surrounding area in need of purchasing medication
- Ursula M. Gibbs Endowment for the benefit of the Beacon Theatre in Hopewell, Virginia
- Ursula M. Gibbs Endowment for the benefit of Weston Manor in Hopewell, Virginia
For ninety-seven years, Sue Gibbs changed the lives of those around her for the better. The John Randolph Foundation is honored to play a role in ensuring that Sue will continue changing lives for years to come.
The Frederick T. Gray & Evelyn J. Gray Memorial Endowment
Below is a special reflection written by the Gray’s children, ‘Rick Gray & Evelyn “Tucky” Tucker.
Our parents, Fred and Eve Gray, were a team. As teenagers, “Buddy” Gray and Eve Johnson might not have seemed an obvious couple, but in retrospect their 49-year marriage made their partnership appear inevitable.
Fred was a blue-collar kid from Hopewell. After graduating from Hopewell High School, he worked as a clerk at the City Point oil terminal. College was a dream. Eve grew up in a large, antebellum farmhouse on the James River at Bermuda Hundred. After graduating from Thomas Dale, she was heading for William & Mary until a parent’s illness required her to change her plans.
But the two met, courted, and discovered that they completed each other. They married in 1943 in Sacramento on the day Fred became a navigator and Second Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. After their wartime separation, they settled at Bermuda Hundred and began working on their remarkable partnership.
Using the G. I. Bill, Fred graduated from the University of Richmond and its law school. He went on to a notable legal career, serving as Virginia’s Attorney General and, for 18 years, as a member of the General Assembly. Once their children were born, Eve became a full-time mother, active in civic affairs. She also remained Fred’s chief advisor and confidante.
The Grays became founding members of the Bermuda Hundred United Methodist Church, where Eve sang for decades in the chancel choir and was a leader in the Women’s Society. Fred served as lay leader and did much of the church’s legal work.
The Grays were deeply involved in civic institutions in the rapidly-growing Enon community. Eve was a leader in the Enon Elementary School PTA and a perennial room mother. Fred coached baseball in the local boy’s league. Both were active in supporting the Enon Quarterback Club.
In 1976, Fred suffered a massive heart attack, which would certainly have proven fatal but for the timely presence of a piece of brand-new technology – an aortic heart pump – which happened to be at MCV for a product demonstration on the day that would have been his last. In what newspapers called a “miracle”, doctors at MCV persuaded the sales representative to let them hook the Senator up to the machine, saving his life.
This experience deepened the Grays’ interest and involvement in generating support for rescue squads, emergency medical care, and coronary health. In 1977, Fred went to work to persuade local industries to equip John Randolph Hospital with life-saving “second generation” diagnostic equipment. In doing this, he was advised by his cardiologist, the highly-regarded Dr. Yi-Nan Chou, and Franklin D. Boyce, the hospital’s administrator (and later, the first CEO of the John Randolph Foundation). In 1978, Eve spent a year travelling the Commonwealth as Honorary Chair of the Virginia Chapter of the American Heart Association.
Five years later, while actively crafting and working for passage of Virginia’s first mandatory child safety seat legislation, Fred was himself the victim of a traumatic automobile accident, which he survived thanks to the work of the Bensley-Bermuda Volunteer Rescue Squad. During his difficult convalescence, Eve took up his cause, encouraging Fred’s assembly allies to shepherd his bill along the complex route to adoption. Its passage in 1982 was the capstone to Fred’s long legislative career.
In her seventies, Eve began serving as a volunteer at John Randolph Hospital. By the time of her death at age 95, Eve had outlived most of her contemporaries and gained many opportunities to witness, with gratitude, the benefits of compassionate hospice care. Through her final months, Eve herself knew the peace and dignity of hospice.
In everything they did our parents strove to work together, sometimes through discussion, or compromise, or by one partner simply giving way. Often, wisely, they entrusted one partner to decide certain matters for both.
Dad expected Mom to outlive him, and he trusted her to decide how to serve worthy purposes with some of the assets they had labored together to acquire. When Mom passed on last winter, she proved him right.
One substantial part of their legacy will be the Frederick T. Gray and Evelyn J. Gray Memorial Endowment, which functions under the John Randolph Foundation. The endowment reflects causes which became important to our parents in their lifetimes by providing funds:
- To benefit voluntary emergency services in the Bermuda District of Chesterfield
- To provide access to primary medical care in Chesterfield
- To provide hospice care to residents in John Randolph Foundation’s service area
- To benefit organizations assisting persons in need of financial help in health-related matters
We are delighted to introduce the Frederick T. Gray and Evelyn J. Gray Memorial Endowment Fund. We hope that many will be moved to add to its resources.
‘Rick Gray & Evelyn “Tucky” Tucker
Remember “Mr. Hopewell” through the D. Paul Karnes Endowment for Wellness
There are many ways to honor the memory of a loved one. For Judy Karnes, wife of the late JRF trustee and Hopewell community advocate, David Paul Karnes, establishing an endowment in his name at the Foundation was the best way to keep his legacy alive. Today, the endowment supports the City Point 5K & Kids Fun Run where all kids run for free.
As Judy reminisced about their life together, she spoke lovingly and with great respect about the man to whom she had been married for 40 years. “Paul didn’t have an easy life,” she said. “His father died when he was a senior at Hopewell High School, and Paul worked hard to take care of his family. While his friends went on to college, Paul got a job as a draftsman with the Virginia Department of Transportation.”
Judy and Paul began dating in their early twenties. While Judy worked in the accounting department of Allied Construction, Paul became a buyer of cotton linter machines for Hercules where he continued to work for over 30 years. He also sold real estate for the Ford Agency.
“He liked his work, but his real love was serving his community,” said Judy. Paul was one of the largest blood donors in the area, giving hundred of pints of blood during his lifetime. Paul volunteered many municipal, civic, and philanthropic organizations to make Hopewell a great place to work, live, and raise a family. In addition to serving as the Mayor of Hopewell from 1992-1994, he achieved many more titles during his lifetime: “Spark Plug of the Year”, “Kiwanian of the Year”, and even “Soldier of the Year” during his time in the National Guard. But people here affectionately referred to him as “Mr. Hopewell” because of his tireless service to the city he loved.
Paul served as a JRF Trustee from 2007-2012. Because he understood that wellness and prevention are key elements to improving the overall health of a community, one of Paul’s greatest achievements was working with JRF to establish the Hopewell-Prince George Community Health Center. He also was a regular participant in the annual City Point 5K that JRF sponsors.
Paul’s belief in community wellness combined with his love for the City of Hopewell inspired Judy to establish the D. Paul Karnes Endowment for Wellness. Today, the endowment supports the City Point 5K & Kids Fun Run where all kids run for free.
In 2013, B. J. and Charles Patton established the Trudy Bogese Endowment for Youth Development with John Randolph Foundation in memory of B. J.’s mother, Trudy Bogese. Trudy Bogese was a remarkable businesswoman and citizen, who contributed greatly to her community over the course of her lifetime. Funds generated through this endowment will provide game-changing summer camp experiences for local youth through “camperships”.
Below is B. J.’s special account of what her mother meant to her and why she and Charles chose to honor Trudy Bogese by establishing an endowment in her memory.
My husband, Chuck, and I established the Trudy Bogese Endowment for Youth Development with the hope that my mom’s success story would be an inspiration to others. My mother was a “mountain among men” as women were not expected to be leading professional business people, especially in the 1940’s.
My mother, Trudy Bogese grew up with modest means in the tobacco farming community of Brunswick County, Virginia. After working in the fields, she left home to attend the Petersburg School of Nursing where she graduated with her registered nursing degree.
She met my father, Michael “Mike” J. Bogese, Sr. while in nursing school and they soon married. Four months after their marriage, my mom was injured in a car accident that shattered her hip and legs. The doctors told her she may never walk again and would never have children. Five children later and walking with a limp but always a smile, my mother defied the doctors.
My mom worked in public health nursing in Hopewell until she partnered with my dad, taking a gamble starting Bogese Construction Company. Always the driver, the mother of five embraced the real estate and construction arenas and was one of only two women Realtors in the Tri-Cities area. She was a real estate broker, insurance broker, and held interior design and nursery licenses. Bogese Construction Company ultimately developed over 3,000 residential homes in the Tri-Cities and Richmond area in over 16 residential communities, and built the first medical office building in Hopewell with Torsten Peterson. Commercial development of apartment communities, office parks, mini storage warehouses and shopping centers followed. The Company, later known as Bogese, Inc. celebrated 50 years in business in the 1990s.
Among her many accomplishments, Mom was a founding member of the Southside Virginia Board of Realtors and the Southside Multiple Listing Service. She served as President and also received the first Realtor of the Year Award. She received the Hopewell Business and Professional Woman’s Club Niki Award and the Hopewell Jaycettes Women’s Distinguished Service Award.
My mother’s professional involvement and energy was endless. She was Secretary of Prince George County’s Planning Commission, and co-founder and first President of the Prince George County Citizen’s Education Association. She organized the first March on Polio and Heart Fund and served on the Commonwealth Girl Scout Council for 15 years and was a troop leader. She served as President of the Richmond Diocese of the National Catholic Ministries and for 15 years worked as a board member with the John Randolph Hospital Authority. She was a member of the Hopewell Woman’s Club and served as its Christmas Mother and received its Outstanding Junior Award.
My mother never talked about herself. She also told me, “you never talk about what you have or what you have done.” She quietly praised others for their accomplishments, and always emphasized a team orientation. My mother passed away in 2002 and now it’s time to tell her story with the hope it will inspire young people to be entrepreneurs by accepting challenges and overcoming obstacles.
– Barbara J. “B.J.” Patton