Fred & Jackie Wooley
In December of 2022, Fred Wooley came to SCCF to establish a Donor Advised Fund to honor the legacy of his late wife and his family. Coming from that conversation, the Fred & Jackie Wooley Fund was created.
Sweet Jackie, as Fred often refers to her, Wooley was a teacher, avid knitter, devout Catholic, and was and still loved by many. Fred describes his wife of 36 years as gentle, quiet, and caring. In 2016, Jackie retired from teaching to enjoy her life with her husband at their residence outside of Fremont. In 2017, Jackie was diagnosed with a rare form of Parkinson’s Disease that is very aggressive and progresses quickly. After being told Jackie only had 3-5 years to live, the couple had hoped that more research would improve her longevity and quality of life. Post diagnoses, Fred, Jackie, their son, Joseph, and his wife Krista, traveled to Poland to visit her parents native land to learn about their history and culture. To combat her illness, Jackie joined Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s through the Steuben County YMCA. This program allows those diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease to have a support system of like-people. Physically, the group works to improve their health through boxing and related training exercises, which engage the whole body and coordination. Mentally, the group would bond over themed meetings and discuss the difficulties they are having with their unique illness. Jackie’s legacy lives through her husband and the impact she created after passing away in 2019.
Fred Wooley was an interpreter for Pokagon State Park for 35 years, where he utilized his Zoology and Environmental Education degrees to teach about the natural and cultural systems in Steuben County and beyond. Fred shared that he admired Dorothy Mundinger for creating the Pokagon State Park Nature Center Fund in 1998. This fund allows the two organizations to work together to advocate for education about our ecosystems with people who care. Fred writes the Natural Touch column in the Herald Republican newspaper that is featured the first Thursday of every month. He is a member of the Board of Directors at the Community Humane Society of Steuben County, The Charles McClue Nature Reserve, and Blue Heron Ministries. Fred keeps an eye out for projects within the community about which he cares and align with his values, like Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s at the YMCA and a local elementary school book accessibility program which he used their Donor-Advised Fund to support.
The Fred and Jackie Wooley Fund is designed to facilitate projects and programs that protect and enhance natural and cultural features and heritage, and that lift and enrich peoples’ lives. To paraphrase heritage interpreter, Freeman Tilden, “With awareness comes understanding, with understanding comes appreciation, with appreciation comes a commitment to build a better world.”
Fred says that he admires the commitments of his friends, Lisa & Dale Caudill and Laura & Rich Clifton, who created similar funds with the SCCF, which inspired him to continue his working and seeking opportunities to give. The Wooley family also has funds at the Noble County Community Foundation and Owen County Community Foundation. Fred plans to continue his community service in the place he calls home, Steuben County.