Gretchen A. Curtis Invests Where Her Values are

Posted on August 21, 2013

Motivated by examples of both faith and generosity, Gretchen A. Curtis, has provided the Lakeside Chautauqua’s Religious Life program with an endowment totaling $80,000 to support the Chaplain of the Week program in perpetuity.

Having served for many years on the Religious Life Advisory Team, Curtis understands what it takes to bring in high-caliber, skilled and influential chaplains for one week during the Chautauqua summer season.

Her gift to the Lakeside Endowment fund will yield a sufficient return to provide for one such week.

Curtis, who is an inspiration to those around her, is present at every Chaplain’s Hour, Sunday Hoover Community Worship Service and Evening Prayer & Praise Service.

“It’s how I get my spiritual nutrition at Lakeside for the whole year,” she says.

Curtis considers the religious pillar to be the most important at Lakeside Chautauqua because of its heritage, as she refers to the roots of the Chautauqua Movement, originally designed to inspire and energize the Sunday school teachers of the late 19th century. Now, in the 21st century, she holds firmly to the belief that the religious pillar not only undergirds all that Lakeside is about, but is a foundation for the Chautauqua experience.

Since the 1980s, Curtis and her husband, the late Dr. J.C. “Curt” Curtis, Jr., began coming to Lakeside, visiting with friends on weekends. In 1989, when they retired, they chose to purchase a home at Lakeside.

From their first experience, they were inspired by the Chaplains of the Week, and as they continued to watch the Chaplain program grow, they were “caught by the spirit.”

When asked who or what inspired her generosity, Curtis gives credit to her late husband, who worked his way through school, then returned to the community where he grew up in Kenton, Ohio, to establish a veterinary practice.

He once said, “If you are going live in a community, you have to be a part of a community.” So, it is not surprising to know that across the years, Curtis and her husband have not only generously supported their own congregation, but many important projects in their community and beyond.

“We believed that as we are creations of God, and are blessed to have resources, we always felt we had an obligation to share our blessings with others,” Curtis says.

Once the couple retired to Lakeside, they wanted to make sure the Religious Life program remained strong.

“It is important to invest in where your values are,” she says.

As a testament to their parents’ benevolence, the four children of Curtis and her husband understood from a young age that they belonged to a family where their parents believed in practicing philanthropy, a lesson that has served them well across the years.

Now living in Wesley Glen Retirement Community in Columbus, Ohio, Curtis continues her love for Lakeside and her commitment to its religious pillar.