Farm couple (George and Minnie Kluthe) planted seeds for community.
Illinois Sunday, February 28, 1993 By SCOn PERRY H&R Mattoon Bureau Chief FFINGHAM To Hi those who Knew them, Hi . George and Minnie -J Kluthe were a frugal, hard-working farm couple. "Frugal" is an apt description, said Robert Vanderkolk, trust officer at Effingham State Bank. But to many Effingham County residents most of whom had no personal contact with them the Kluthes are financial saviors, providing seed money from which needed projects can grow. "I WOULD HAVE LOVED to have met this generous lady and have taken her for a stroll through the park which she was the foundation in creating. I think she would have been very happy," said George Wermert, a member of the Teuto-polis Park Board. The park district was one of 17 beneficiaries of Minnie's million-dollar estate. Minnie died in 1987. In her will, she stipulated that her estate be distributed to Effingham County organizations and used to improve the way of life for the county's senior citizens. One doesn't have to look very far to see the results of Minnie's generosity. They need only travel to Mason, Dieterich and Watson and talk to people about their new civic centers, where activities are held for senior citizens. Walk into Helen Mathes Library in Effingham and see the increased number of recorded books, videos and microfilm copies of county newspapers. And visit the Effingham City Windfall didn't change them EFFINGHAM George Kluthe had only two pictures displayed in his room at a care center one of his deceased wife Minnie and another of his farm. "He really missed his farm," said Janice Webb, former administrator of Van Dyke Convalescent Center in Effingham, where Kluthe had resided. "If you didn't know he was wealthy, you would have mistaken him for any ordinary rural, farming-type person," she said. Nowhere was this more evident than on Kluthe's beloved farm 480 acres in rural Dieterich. George and Minnie built their two-bedroom home there in 1950. By most people's standards, it was modest, considering their financial resources. But then, they were accustomed to pinching pennies. Soon after his wife's death, George told a reporter of the hard times the couple had getting by on what they produced on the farm. He described working from early morning until late at night. Holidays went by without much fanfare. "Them's the days we rested," he said. It wasn't until oil was discovered on the farm in the late 1940s and the 1950s that the real money mm walm County Senior Center and view the renovations that have taken place. Grants of $250,000 each have been awarded to Lake Land College to help fund a proposed educational center in Effingham and to the Effingham County Family YMCA to help pay for an indoor pool that senior citizens will use. WHILE THE BULK OF Minnie's estate has been awarded, the people of Effingham County are prepared to benefit once again from the generosity of this frugal couple. With the passing of George in 1991, it was announced that he too left behind a trust worth at least $1 million to be distributed in much the same way. The process of deciding who will benefit from this latest round of gifts is already under way, said Vanderkolk, who is overseeing the distribution of the Kluthes' wealth. Although Minnie's estate had to benefit senior citizens, the George Kluthe Trust is much less restrictive. The funds can be distributed to tax-exempt orgaizations in Effingham County for educational, recreational, social, rehabilitative scientific and literary purposes. Vanderkolk said 55 applications totaling $6.68 million were submitted by organizations wanting all or part of the George Kluthe Trust. A decision on funding will come within the next two months. Funds will be allocated by a group of unidentified county residents who form the Kluthe Award Committee. Vanderkolk praised the group for the way it even-handedly distributed the Minnie Kluthe funds and predicts the same results this time around. started coming in. Even so, the couple farmed the land by themselves until they retired in 1972. It was obvious the windfall didn't change them, said Robert Vanderkolk, trust officer at Effingham State Bank and one of George's friends. "What they made, they kept and invested." Vanderkolk remembers George for more than his generosity: "The thing I remember most is his grin." He added that it was rivaled only by George's love of chocolate. They had a running joke that no one could get to see George without first displaying two chocolate bars, Vanderkolk said. George called them "tickets." At the convalescent center, "He would always ask the nurse who escorted me to the room 'Does he have his tickets?' and then he would turn around and display the grin I loved so much." TCI CABLEVISION OF DECATUR is pleased to present an up-to-date report of our cable TV rebuild ft X W V' 1 --vf i t-.zr- George Kluthe LOSS u I I "If s a simple notion. Wine complements food. Food complements wine. Yet here in the prairie, few restaurants have embraced that concept with a commitment and a passion. One bold enough to do so is Dave Brown's jewel, Stoney's Restaurant in Dalton City." J Mark Tupper Herald & Review February, 1993 Look for details in this Outlook Section. m p I p If We strive for the highest quality meals and service. When it comes to the best, you know you can count on Stoney's! I m i m m 1 5.w s&GflBs tar gm i& imf'-iV::: t ; .,y: . si; : : : : sis;; Si 7 : Minnie Kluthe WlWUr C0 J 1 1 ci UA U i The UWa Steakhouse The Kluthes GEORGE: Bom June 21, 1904 in Eberle in Effingham County. His parents were Christian and Augusta (Bloemker) Kluthe. Died March 12, 1991 in Effingham. MINNIE: Bom Feb. 8, 1910 in Wheeler in Jasper County. Her parents were Charles and Bulah (Stockwell) Schultz. Died Nov. 3, 1987, in Effingham. MARRIED: On June 22,1 1930. They had no : children. 1 Ins tl I J I U 1 1 1 oo In Dalton City m ! m m