Fund Spotlight: George Wilbur & Edna Hansen Endowment Fund
A deep love for Pentwater motivated an area couple to remember two Pentwater organizations in their will and create a legacy through a fund held at the Foundation. George & Edna Hansen, former Pentwater residents, created the George Wilbur & Edna Hansen Endowment Fund with a $100,000 estate gift in 2005. Annual grants from the Hansen Fund equally benefit two beloved organizations to them – the Pentwater Township Library and the Pentwater Centenary Methodist Church. Since 2006 those grants have totaled $50,000 and the Fund balance has grown to $120,000 – that is the power of endowment!
George Wilbur was born in 1911 in Pentwater, and was a graduate of Pentwater High school and Michigan State University. He met Edna Hruza, a “resorter” to the Pentwater area in 1933. Edna was born in Chicago in 1916, and every summer her family came for a week of vacation to Golden Township to help friends harvest fruit. Over the years they rented many houses and eventually ended up renting in the South Beach area near Pentwater. Later on, Edna and her mother came to the area for the whole summer. According to Edna’s memoirs “summers spent in Pentwater were great times. There were the “summer kids” and “town kids” all enjoying time at the beach on Lake Michigan.” Edna met George while he was working in the post office and she was always eager to either take or pick up the mail for her family. George & Edna’s tale of romance and eventual marriage in 1935 could be retold by many other couples who found their life mate along the shores of Lake Michigan in Pentwater.
Following George’s graduation from MSU, he was offered a position in the accounting department in General Motors in Flint. Edna became involved with the Girl Scouts. In 1942 George enlisted in the armed forces during WWII and spent the majority of his time in France working as a technical sergeant. After the war, they returned to Flint where his job was waiting for him at GM. Edna continued her work with the Girl Scouts becoming Vice President of the Genesee Girl Scout Council. They never had any children.
In 1972 George retired and they moved into the family home in Pentwater, enjoying 29 years of retirement along the lakeshore. They enjoyed traveling, golfing and being with friends. They were members of the Centenary United Methodist Church, the Pentwater Historical Society, and the Pentwater Township Library.
You can support the Hansen Fund or one of the Community Foundation’s 150+ Funds, or learn more about starting your own named fund here.