A longtime Longview woman has left $750,000 for three local non-profits, according to her will.
Kathryn Karlen “Kay” Creel, who died in Portland on Jan. 6 at the age of 84, gave $225,000 each to the Longview Public Library Foundation and Youth and Family Link, as well as $300,000 to Community Home Health and Hospice.
“I think my jaw fell to the floor,” said Community Home Health and Hospice CEO Greg Pang about when he was told of Creel’s gift. “I teared up a little. I’m rarely speechless, and I’m speechless.”
Pang said his non-profit’s $300,000 will go into the board-designated fund, to be saved for a special need such as a unique patient situation or replacing equipment. The money could be used to help the increasing amount of hospice patients with exhausted insurance or no insurance at all, Pang said.
“This couldn’t have come at a better time,” he said. “We have so many needs.”
Sam Wardle, the chairman for the Longview Public Library Foundation, said his organization has invested the $225,000 gift from Creel and is waiting to see how to spend it. A finance committee will meet soon and make a recommendation for the money’s use, he said.
Wardle said he knew Creel would leave the library money, but he had no idea the donation would be so large.
“It was just so pleasing. It (brought) big smiles,” he said. “It’s just so exciting.”
Youth and Family Link Executive Director Steve Watters said his non-profit’s board is also figuring out possibilities for its $225,000.
Watters said Link’s three main options are developing a neighborhood community center for health care and tutoring; creating a free countywide tutoring program; or expanding its engagement program, where staff work with drug-dependent pregnant women and families who need to be connected to health services.
“We want to find out what a true need or gap is in the community, that isn’t just something that we expend the money and then it’s over with,” he said. Expendability is a huge factor.”
Watters said he was glad Creel respected his organization enough to donate.
“It’s gratifying, I guess, to be recognized that the work we must be doing must be quality work,” he said.
In her will, Creel also left money to the Children’s Orthopedic Hospital and the Arthritis Foundation’s Pacific Northwest Chapter, both in Seattle, as well as St. Vincent Hospital’s Guest House Program in Portland.
Creel, who was born in Elma, Wash., and graduated from R.A. Long High School, settled in Longview after marrying David Creel, an Air Force captain. She was an avid golfer, loved to travel, and was active in her local PEO chapter. Her husband died in 2011. He at one point owned the local distribution network for The Oregonian newspaper.