A Legacy of Overcoming Adversity With Grace and Hard Work: Alice Weathermon Oliver
Life wasn't always easy for Alice Oliver. Living most of her 98 years on a farm near Guilford in northwest Missouri meant plenty of hard work. Losing her 8-year-old brother, Paul, to diphtheria and scarlet fever, and her only child, Harold Eugene, at birth, meant learning to cope with heartache.
Through it all, Alice faced adversity with grace and found contentment in life's simple pleasures. This included special relationships with her nieces and nephew. "Since she and Uncle Wesley didn't have children of their own, they both doted on us," says Rosalie Weathermon, one of Alice's nieces. "We loved it."
There are fond memories of Alice baking Santa Claus cookies with coconut beards and raisins for eyes every year for the holidays. The Olivers were also avid gardeners, and their popcorn and watermelons were well-known among all their neighbors.
The Olivers were people who knew the value of hard work. In fact, Wesley was still working at age 91 when he died as the result of a farm accident in 1997. After that, Alice moved to town and faced many health problems of her own before she passed away in January of last year. But through it all, Alice maintained an indomitable spirit and never got down or depressed. "She was an example of how to grow old gracefully," says Marilyn Jackson, another one of Alice's nieces. "She adapted to her circumstances, which were not always wonderful, and found ways to get along."
Carrying On Their Values Through Their Estate
Living simply and frugally allowed the Olivers to save for their golden years and then ultimately benefit organizations they cared about, including Children's Mercy. They developed a special fondness for the hospital through the care it provided to their great-niece Teresa Walters, who had muscular dystrophy. Now, their generous estate gift will help many other children facing similar challenges and families who cannot afford to pay for their care in these difficult economic times.
Because Alice was a very humble person and wasn't one to bring a lot of attention to herself, Rosalie and Marilyn agree that their aunt would be amazed to see what is being accomplished through the various charities they supported. "I think Aunt Alice would be very pleased to know the impact her estate is having," Rosalie says. "It's a wonderful legacy to sweeten the memories of our aunt and uncle."