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Stories of Giving

Harford County Couple Earmarks their Estate for Catholic Education

After settling into retirement, Joyce and Hunter Kerlin began to give serious thought to the way their estate should be handled once the two of them have died. What they decided, without much discussion, was the establishment of a fund that will eventually provide funding to students who attend Partners in Excellence schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

The Joyce and Hunter Kerlin Family Fund will be part of the Catholic Community Foundation Trust Fund, an endowment established by the Archdiocese of Baltimore as part of the Legacy League. "It truly was an easy decision for us," said Mr. Kerlin, a 69-year-old retired banker who comes from a long line of public school teachers. "I've always been a strong believer in education," he said, "particularly Catholic school education."

It was an attitude that he first developed while a student himself at Gwynns Falls Junior High School and Polytechnic Institute through encounters with a number of Catholic school students in the neighborhood. Despite his Methodist upbringin, he established a strong bond of friendship with those students through the "very inclusive" CYO sports programs at St. Edward, Baltimore, and St. Agnes, Catonsville. He also developed a tremendous respect for the two young priests who served as advisors to those athletic programs, the later Monsignor William Kailer Dunn who died in 1964 and Monsignor Francis W. Fortenbaugh, retired pastor of St. Agnes.

Mrs. Kerlin is herself a product of Catholic education beginning with elementary school at St. Ann, Baltimore. She later graduated from the Institute of Notre Dame, Baltimore, and went on to complete her nursing education at St. Agnes, Baltimore.

With very little discussion, the two came to a joint decision that students in Catholic elementary schools should benefit from the money that they have accumulated during their successful careers. "Elementary school is the basis for everything," said Mr. Kerlin. "With that basis, students stand a better chance of continuing their education."

Because students attending Partners in Excellence schools are in need of financial assistance, both Mr. and Mrs. Kerlin see the program as a solid investment for what they expect to be a substantial estate. The fund will benefit not only the children who are students but also the culture and society that will reap the benefits in the future.

"I feel very comfortable with what we've done," said the 59-year-old Mrs. Kerlin. Because the PIE families themselves are pre-qualified and then required to contribute a portion of the tuition themselves, they have a vested interest in the education they are receiving.

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