Frank and Barbara Goodspeed Memorial Fund

This endowment was created in 2005 from a donation by Dorothy Moriarty in memory of her beloved aunt and uncle. Frank Goodspeed was a native Wasecan and served on the WCHS Board of Directors for many years. Dorothy Moriarty left a substantial bequest to this fund at her death in March 2012.

The Gift from a Stranger

Some years ago WCHS received a significant check from someone who didn’t live in Waseca County, was not born here, had no immediate ties to Waseca County, except . . . she was the niece of a man who had served on an early WCHS Board of Directors for many years, Frank Goodspeed. He served the Society because he grew up learning how to write, and learning how important it was to record history--he was the grandson of James Child who wrote The History of Waseca County, 1854-1904. Frank Goodspeed moved on to a career in journalism in Chicago. He and wife Barbara often invited their niece Dorothy Moriarty to their place in Waseca after they had returned in retirement. That was the link. Dorothy never married, but lived in Chicago until her death in 2012. She was an educator, and a lively personality—so kind to so many.

Her many annual donations founded the Frank and Barbara Goodspeed Memorial Fund at the Waseca Area Foundation, one of several endowments that benefit WCHS. After 2007 new co-directors Sheila Morris and Joan Mooney wrote special thank you letters making sure this generous donor in Chicago knew the impact of her gifts. Then in June 2012 the Society received a letter from a Chicago lawyer.  Joan and Sheila call this event, the “knee-buckler.” As Sheila started to read the letter walking back into the museum from the mailbox, she began to shake,  unable to fully comprehend what the letter was about. As she handed it to Joan—“Is this saying what I think it’s saying?” Sheila’s knees did buckle, leaning into Joan for support.

The letter was informing the Society that Dorothy Moriarty had died early in March and had bequeathed an estimated amount of just over $287,000. Because the letter did not express her extended wish that it be added to the Goodspeed Endowment fund, there was a good deal of initial excitement over what projects could be funded! At an emergency board meeting, a list of projects and priorities were discussed. Eventually, the exact language of the bequest in Dorothy’s will became clear. Sure enough, the entire gift was designated to the endowment. It was no reason to be sad. It was a different reason to be incredibly grateful for a gift that will give forever.