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Linda and Gary Waitschies provide for future teachers

Linda and Gary Waitschies provide for future teachers
Linda and Gary Waitschies

Linda and Gary Waitschies were deliberate and determined in completing a task that some may find daunting — end-of-life planning. And Gary is glad that they did, because he lost Linda to cancer when she was only 57. But he’s found comfort in fulfilling her wishes of funding an endowed scholarship for teaching students at UNC, Linda’s alma mater.

“We were fortunate to think about estate planning; so many people don’t,” Gary said. His career in financial planning helped illuminate the way for them. “We knew it was important to have the conversation. We didn’t want it to happen by default.”

Linda and Gary had talked about what had shaped their lives and where they felt they could have a positive impact with a significant bequest. They agreed that their undergraduate educations had been the most formative events in their lives — Linda’s at UNC and Gary’s at the University of Missouri.



Gary Waitschies visits with education students Alyssa Bartle, Katy Burkhart and Lauren Hepp at Margie's Java Joint in Greeley, Colo.
“Our educations essentially defined our careers, developed our contacts, and were very influential in nearly every aspect of our lives,” Gary said during a visit to UNC. They met while working at the same restaurant during high school in Colorado Springs, Colo. After Linda’s graduation from UNC in 1971, they married and Gary began his army career, taking them to Germany and, eventually, the Washington, D.C. area. Linda taught in Germany and then spent most of her teaching career in Virginia, where she made a positive impact on many students’ lives.

“We decided to allocate our assets to our undergraduate universities since they were so important to each of us,” Gary said. “College is such a defining part of our lives — it’s where we grow up. Not giving back would not have been right.”

Through his estate, Gary has committed a $500,000 gift that will someday endow the Linda and Gary Waitschies Scholarship Fund for teacher education. And because he wants to see students benefit now, he is providing regular annual donations for students enrolled in the Professional Teacher Education Program in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.

“I derive so much pleasure just from writing the checks.” Gary enjoys visiting UNC to meet with students who are awarded funds from the scholarship and to cheer on the Bears.

“It warms my heart to meet these students,” Gary said. “I love to learn about their hopes and aspirations for teaching.”


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