Meet Our Donors
We thank all our planned-gift donors for their generous support. Here are some of their stories.
Daughter remembered father's fondness of Webb
One man’s strong feelings about The Webb School, where he graduated nearly 120 years ago, has translated into gifts to the school’s endowment from his daughter that now have a market value of $4 million. The most recent check for $642,000 was received in February.
Charles Chester Huff was reared in Bell Buckle, the son of the Rev. William Huff and Mrs. Martha E. Huff. He graduated from Webb in 1893 and attended Vanderbilt University before moving to Taylor, Texas, in 1896. Several years later, he moved to Wichita Falls, Texas, to study law under his brother, attorney R.E. Huff. He went on to become one of the most prominent lawyers in the Southwest and died in 1949 in Dallas, Texas.
Remembering how fond her father was of Webb and “Old Sawney,” Pinta Huff Harris, only child of Huff and his wife, Mary Encell Mendel Huff, made the school a beneficiary in her will in the early 1980s. And at that point, she also made two gifts totaling $160,000 all in memory of her father.
“We were puzzled by it,” said Jim McDonnell, a member of the Board of Trustees and former chairman. “We wanted to respond to the gifts, but our records from 1893-96 were so incomplete that we had very little information about him. We confirmed that he had attended school, but we had no current information about him.” McDonnell added, “Since this gift promised to be the largest gift we had ever received, we felt we needed to respond appropriately.”
Research about Charles Huff led Webb officials to his background in Texas, where he was a prominent attorney in private practice and later for a number of railroad companies that were cutting wide rights-of-way across Texas through the Midland, Texas, region. He was also a Federal Reserve Bank attorney.
McDonnell said he, Webb Follin Jr. and Lane Abernathy, then Director of Alumni Relations and Planned Giving, along with several other board members “called on her (Pinta Huff Harris) and her attorneys and had a very nice meeting. She related how fondly her father spoke of The Webb School and the memorable educational experiences he had at Webb.”
They were told that Webb was named as the recipient of half of her residual estate interests in several trusts but at the time, the Webb group did not know the size of the trusts. (Harris also had named other educational institutions and organizations among her beneficiaries.)
Harris died several years later after a short illness in the fall of 1984 at age 81, and the school was notified. Her obituary in the Dallas Morning News noted that she was born May 18, 1903, and was a longtime resident of Dallas. She attended The University of Texas, The Hockaday School and was a longtime member of the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas. According to a 1958 art exhibit pamphlet, she was a trustee of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. She was buried in Taylor City Cemetery next to her parents.
As explained by Abernathy in a September 1985 letter to a Webb board member, Harris had mineral and real estate interests. He anticipated the Webb share would be $1.5 million. He added, “You are probably familiar with the Mendel land in West Texas. The story is that Mr. Charles Huff loaned the money to Mr. Hood Mendel, his brother-in-law, to buy the tracts at $1 an acre. Mrs. Pinta Huff Harris inherited a one-sixth interest in the Hood Mendel holdings and a one-sixtieth interest in the Myrtle Mendel holdings.” Myrtle Mendel was Hood Mendel’s wife, Pinta Huff Harris’s aunt.
Webb received $1,076,250 on Sept. 30, 1985, and then began receiving monthly checks for mineral, gas and oil royalties, land lease proceeds and investment interest.
This has proven to be one of the largest gifts Webb has ever received. Proceeds from the Pinta Huff Harris gifts were used as part of a match for the second and third years of a $900,000 Kenan Trust matching grant and toward the construction of the Davis-Woosley Computer Science Building in 1987, in addition to numerous other projects.
“It’s significant that a student’s experience at Webb will generate a memorial of this magnitude,” said McDonnell.
(Income from Webb's endowment allows gifts to continue giving in perpetuity, providing scholarships, salaries, and supplemental income to support the school year.)
Dallas Morning News, March 29, 1943
Charles Chester Huff, general solicitor of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Lines, and one of the best known attorneys in the Southwest, died Sunday at 3 a.m. at a local hospital after a brief illness.
A resident of Dallas for twenty-eight years, Huff started his career as a railroad attorney in 1908 at Wichita Falls with the Wichita Falls & Northwestern Railroad.
He served as counsel for the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank from 1914 to 1925 and general counsel for the bank from 1925-1930.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Sparkman-Brand Funeral Home. His body will be taken to Taylor, his former home, on a noon train for burial. The Huff residence is at 4201 Lakeside.
Loved Outdoor Life
Mr. Huff loved outdoor sports and was one of the best quail hunters in the state. He hunted birds wherever he thought they could be found. He loved to fish and was a member of the Koon Kreek Klub near Athens, in East Texas. He enjoyed a reputation among his many friends as a storyteller, particularly of outdoor life.
He was born July 29, 1875, in Bell Buckle, Tenn., the son of the Rev. William Huff and Mrs. Martha E. Huff. He attended Webb Brothers Preparatory School at Bell Buckle and Vanderbilt University. He moved to Taylor in 1896, and later went to Wichita Falls, where he read law in the office of his brother, R.E. Huff. He was admitted to the bar at Wichita Falls in May, 1898, and shortly after was elected city attorney. In 1900, he was elected county attorney at Wichita Falls and shortly after his election married Miss Mary Encell Mendel of Taylor.
He resigned as county attorney in 1905 because of the press of private practice, and in 1906 became attorney for Kemp & Kell, then building what was known as the Wichita Falls Railway, afterward acquired by the Katy. He was general attorney of the line built by Kemp and Kell for several years.
Mr. Huff moved to Dallas in 1914 to accept the position of general attorney of the Katy Lines in Texas. He served as attorney for the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, starting when it was being organized.
Stricken as Plays Golf
When the Katy of Texas was reorganized in 1923, he was appointed general solicitor and in 1931 was named general solicitor of all the Katy lines.
Mr. Huff was stricken Saturday afternoon while playing golf at Brook Hollow Golf Club, of which he was a member. He was president of the Dallas Country Club in 1926 and 1927.
He was a member of the East Dallas Christian Church, a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason, a member of the American Bar Association, Texas State Bar and the Dallas Bar Association. He served on civic committees of various kinds in both Wichita Falls and Dallas.
Mr. Huff was a director of the Katy system, of the Texas Katy lines and of several Katy subsidiaries, including the Wichita Falls & Northwestern, the Texas Central, Beaver, Meade & Inglewood, Wichita Falls Railway Company and the Galveston, Houston and Henderson, and a director of the Southwestern Drug Corporation and a trustee of Hockaday School.
Dr. L.N.D. Wells, his pastor, will conduct the funeral services.
He is survived by his wife, a daughter, Mrs. Roger Harris, the former Miss Pinta Huff; a granddaughter, Mary Jane Harris; a sister, Mrs. Robert Skelton, Scottsboro, Ala.; two brothers, Newton Huff, Wichita Falls, and Will Huff, Oklahoma; three nieces, Mrs. Jack Hyman and Mrs. Gus Hodges, Austin, and Mrs. Elm Coon, and a nephew Curran Brown, Fort Benning, Ga.
Community Foundation made it easy for Holliman to establish Charitable Remainder Unitrust
It was during his time as Webb director of development in the late 1970s, that Glenn Holliman became acutely aware of the importance of building an endowment and enhancing alumni and parental giving to strengthen The Webb School for the future.
At the time, Holliman made a mental note that when he reached the "right" age, he would follow the example of Commander Lingurn Burkhead (Webb '21), who established the first charitable remainder unitrust for Webb in 1978.
It's not hard to imagine why Holliman would want to remember Webb. He considers his time at Webb as some of his formative years, and he spent his career enhancing charitable interests.
Holliman returned from serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and earned a master's degree at the University of Tennessee before joining Webb. "I was very fortunate to have worked with outstanding school heads and fine faculty," said Holliman, who began in 1971 as a history teacher and left in 1981 as assistant head of school.
"Adolescents are always challenging – as they should be," he said, and he found Webb's history fascinating. Holliman was intrigued by founder, Sawney Webb, and wrote several articles about the school and Webb family.
After he left Webb, Holliman spent time as head of school at a South Carolina day school, founded a fund raising company with his wife Barbara, and recently retired as a vice president of The Episcopal Church Foundation in New York.
Holliman, who lives in a farm house in Newport, Pa., visited Webb in April to participate in a tribute to Jack Heffner and was pleased to find a vibrant institution. He cited the broader curriculum and other "exciting" educational opportunities as advancements. "I tip my hat to the very fine board members and school heads. Webb has been blessed with strong leaders."
So last summer, Holliman did what he said he was going to do he and his wife named Webb the 75 percent beneficiary of a charitable remainder unitrust. He said the entire process could not have been easier because he established the unitrust through his local community foundation.
"Almost every middle-sized community has a community foundation," he said. Holliman added that the foundation took care of everything with no attorneys' fees or red tape. "The beauty of the remainder trust is you can designate several schools or charities of one's choice," he said.
"I would say to former faculty and alumni to look closely at a remainder unitrust which can underwrite retirement, provide a very pleasant tax deduction and enable one to strengthen an institution that has done so much for so many." He added, "It's a win, win, win."
Cordary "Gene" Brewster '43
Cordary Eugene Brewster Revocable Trust
Cordary "Gene" Brewster '43 became a member of The Webb School's Burkhead Society by including The Webb School as a beneficiary to his estate. The Webb School received more than $424,000 from his estate during the 2008-2009 fiscal year. Mr. Brewster passed away on March 5, 2008, at the age of 82. "He was a remarkable man ... a good man," said Ann Brewster, who survives her husband and serves as executor of the estate. Gene and Ann married in 1996.
Their life together was marked by volunteer service for Meals on Wheels, the Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless, and within St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Jacksonville, Fla.
Although he only attended Webb for one year, 1941-1942, the school apparently left an indelible mark on Mr. Brewster. He explains his early departure from the school in a war memoir.
"It was a Sunday during my Junior year at The Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee ... when the announcer interrupted to report that Pearl Harbor had been bombed," he writes. "After registering for the draft ... I went immediately to the Navy Recruiting Station and volunteered for the Navy."
Brewster graduated from the Naval Hospital Corps School in 1943. He was involved in the invasion of Okinawa, and was honorably discharged on Christmas Day 1945.
He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Florida and completed advanced study at Mexico City College. Mr. Brewster never knew his father. He was the descendant of a pioneer Italian family who settled in Florida in the 1790's.
In November 2008, the Board of Trustees voted to allocate $100,000 of the Brewster Estate gift as scholarship endowment dollars that will help sustain the legacy of a Webb education for future generations. An additional $134,000-plus was allocated to technology improvements around campus, including the installation of fiber-optic cables to supply the school with additional network bandwidth to support a 21st Century Education. The remainder of the estate gift is currently being held in suspense until the Board of Trustees votes on the best use for these dollars during the 2009-2010 school year.
The Noah Porter Rhinehart '10 & Myrtle Couts Rhinehart Estate
A graduate of the Class of 1910, Noah Porter Rhinehart, together with his wife Myrtle Couts Rhinehart, established a donor-directed trust fund with the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation in Charleston, W. Va. Since 1992, the fund has produced significant unrestricted gifts for the Webb Annual Fund totaling more than $95,000. Donor directed funds like the Rhinehart Estate keep Webb on a sound financial footing in perpetuity.
Jac Chambliss '27
"I graduated in the Webb Class of 1927. I had entered Webb in 1924 at the age of thirteen as a "Caesar" (a sophomore) and developed a talent for languages and literature--Latin, Greek and, of course, English," says Jac.
"Upon graduation from Cumberland Law School, I joined the family law firm founded by my two grandfathers in Chattanooga. Except for two years as a navy gunnery officer in World War II, I have practiced law ever since."
"Bena McVea and I were married in 1934 and have lived our lives together in Chattanooga. We have raised three children and now have eight grandchildren and one great grandchild who light up our lives. I have been active in the business community of Chattanooga, and Bena and I have both participated in the civic and religious life of our city. I have served Webb as a Trustee since 1953."
"All three of my brothers attended Webb as well as did our son, John. Bena's father, Dr. Charles McVea, Sr., had attended Webb at Culleoka and followed it to Bell Buckle."
"Webb's greatest gift to me was teaching the discipline of study and the ideals of integrity, perseverance, and self-reliance. Webb School means a lot to me and to my wife".
In 1980, Bena and I decided that because of the ties both of our families have with Webb both her father and I knew Old Sawney we wanted to honor her father and Webb School. A charitable remainder unitrust appealed to us as the type of gift to meet our needs. We know that this gift will be to the benefit and well-being of Webb School as, eventually, the unitrust will fund the Charles McVea 1887 Scholarship Fund."
Sam Mann '43
Sam H. Mann, Jr. '43 of St. Petersburg, Florida, executed a Charitable Remainder Unitrust, funded with securities valued at approximately $1,002,000, naming Webb School as the ultimate beneficiary. Through this unitrust, Mr. Mann is the current income beneficiary; his children are contingent successor income beneficiaries and the Webb School is the charitable remainder beneficiary. The majority of the Sam H. Mann, Jr. Unitrust will go into the endowment to benefit Mr. Mann's scholarship fund, individual academic departments and the general endowment.
Sam Mann explains his motivation for making such a significant planned gift: "I could have named any number of other organizations as the recipient charity, but I chose Webb simply because it stood out foremost in my mind. Why? I spent four years at Webb, from the fall of 1939 to the spring of 1943. This was a time when youngsters are most impressionable. It's also a time when their brains, personalities, beliefs and opinions as well as their entire future conduct are for the most part, formed. So it was with me. There isn't a passing day that I don't have reoccurring memories of the School of incidences that occurred, or even more importantly, a review of friendships that developed and have remained constant over these many years. It is an institution that probably did more for my benefit or to shape my future than any other with which I came in contact, either before or since. It seems to me, accordingly, that it above all the others is the most deserving. I am thoroughly convinced Webb has progressed (as it's alums have) and has maintained its excellence. I think the School will be very much in existence down the road when it ultimately obtains the benefit of this gift, and this gives me a good feeling, knowing I have helped to perpetuate the institution for the benefit of all the fine young students who will be attending."