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Community Foundation of White County

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  • Leslie Goss

"Next Year I'll Be..."

Not many people live to celebrate their 100th birthday, though it’s certainly more common today than it used to be.

I had a dear friend who lived to the tender age of 104. Though now gone, his passionate and positive outlook on life has inspired me for years.

I first met Henry when I opened my quilting and needlework shop in 1976. “Hi, my

name’s Henry Schoon, and I heard you were carrying art supplies. I make picture frames, so if

you need anything, just let me know. Schoon. S-c-h-o-o-n. Right after S-c-h-o-o-l in the phone book. Has been in every town we’ve lived in. That makes it easy to remember.” And almost as briefly as that, he was gone.

During my 21 years in business, Henry made scores of picture frames for my customers

and was my right-hand man for building new shelves, cabinets, and whatever.

Henry never seemed to waste a motion. Many times, delivery was same-day, even if the

rest of the project wasn’t quite ready.

Always a smile. Always with enthusiasm. And all the while, with loving understanding

and support of his wonderful wife, Catherine.

What a team they were for 73 (yes, 73!) years. Catherine always reminded me of Mrs.

Santa Claus – always adoring, always supportive, and very talented in her own right. She did

beautiful needlework, and Henry’s handiwork framed the pieces handsomely. Catherine’s

delightful chuckle was joyful and genuine, and it was obvious that the two of them lived life to its fullest and thrived on sharing it with others.

I remember one time Henry was celebrating a birthday, and I asked him how old he was. His reply was, “Next year I’ll be ….”

Maybe that’s the secret! Henry was always looking forward – to his next birthday, and,

most definitely, to his next opportunity to serve. His picture framing days came to an end, but he continued to readily assist where needed – to offer a smile, a prayer, or whatever he could to make someone else’s day a little brighter.

What a legacy! A legacy of joy, gratitude, and never-ending sharing of his many talents.

Every day, you, too, are creating a life story that will be remembered. Every day, you are

impacting peoples’ lives. There are hundreds of ways to share your time, talents, treasure, and passions. To learn more about what you can do to leave your legacy in White County, contact Community Foundation of White County Director Leslie Goss at 574-583-6911 or log onto

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