Book of Remembrance

We remember those who have given the gift of love and support through their estate giving. The Book of Remembrance honors the lives and legacies of our donors who have so faithfully supported our mission.


Marjory Jean (Crisman) Thompson passed away on Nov 16th, 2019 at Friendship Haven. She was the daughter of DeVere and Bertha (Pollack) Crisman, born on July 12, 1924. She was united in marriage to Glen Oren Thompson on August 29, 1943. Glen Oren Thompson passed away on April 1, 2020 at Friendship Haven. He was the oldest son of Oren C. and Mae (Ricke) Thompson. He was born on August 18th, 1922. His marriage to Marjory lasted for 73 years. These are the facts.

But there is so much more about them that made them almost “forces of Nature” when it came to the influence they had on the family and friends that were around them.

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Their influence rested on a foundation of Faith in God and their fellow human beings; trust in the goodness of people; and a commitment to leave the world a better place.

They were very active in the United Methodist Church with Marjory serving in a variety of positions in the EUB and United Methodist women’s groups. Her ability to organize and provide leadership in a variety of settings was amazing. Those ranged from the Athletic Dept at the University of Iowa, the Dean of Students office at the Iowa State University; the administration of Heifer Project International to the Lord’s Cupboard in Ft. Dodge. She was her own person, loving and caring, but did not condone bad behavior or bad language. Her love of music and art, of being of service and helping others colored everything and every word she said and did.

Glen joined her in these activities. He served the church in a variety of ways, but his contribution was more about making life fun! He was on the staff of the Iowa State Extension Service for 25 years. He was always laughed that he got to get paid for playing games! Yet his contributions go far beyond calling Square Dances. He was heavily involved in the Rural Young People program; wrote the first national 4-H leadership development plan; helped create Hawkeye Recretory; was heavily involved in Heifer Project International; and was often referred to as the “Mayor of Friendship Haven”!

Their 3 children, Gayle, Beth and Mike, plus spouses, grandchildren, great grandchildren and one great, great grandchild are joined by hundreds of friends around the world in honoring their work and their memory by keeping the values and faith that sustained them alive and well.

The family of Glen and Marj Thompson want to fully acknowledge not only the legacy that the left behind, but also want to express their deepest gratitude to Friendship Haven. Friendship Haven as an organization provided a safe and compassionate place for Glen and Marj to live out their final years. That could only have happened because of the wonderful, loving, compassionate staff that made it all possible. The nursing staff, aides and administration were so wonderful, but we cannot forget the kitchen staff, the grounds crews, the maintenance and laundry staff, the volunteers at the front desk or in the gift shop. Glen and Marj knew them all by name. When they were able to walk around the grounds, it took them forever, because they would stop and visit with each person they met. Each staff person knew them by name. The words THANK YOU cannot fully express our love and appreciation for Friendship Haven and all who work and serve there.

Finally, I suspect that the following scenario might well have happened: On April 1, when Glen reached the Pearly Gates, St. Peter welcomed him with open arms and opened the gates wide. Marj was waiting for him, giving him a big hug, but also wondering why he took so long! Glen just grinned and rolled his eyes! Then she said, “Come on, I’ve picked out the perfect mansion for us. It is near my favorite hair salon and a wonderful golf course! To which Glen’s response was, “Whatever!”

May they rest in peace! AMEN


Heather Amy Knopp served in the peace Corps in Guatemala teaching health and nutrition back in the early 80’s. In addition to Heifer, she left donations to Water for Life, Kiva, and the Malala Fund from her estate.

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Today, we honor our sister and sister-in-law Heather. On behalf of the family, thank you for joining us in this celebration. Shortly, you will hear reflections about Heather’s Peace Corp and Montessori days. I’d like to talk for a moment about some of the other faces of Heather.

Heather loved to travel. Author and filmmaker Susan Sontag said it best: “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” And Heather had an exotic list: Kathmandu, Dharamshala, Ladakh, Chiquimula, Sulawesi, Raja Ampat and so many more. She was a walking, talking travelogue, a human National Geographic.

She traveled when there were no international cellphones, no email, no Google maps, no GPS. Nor was it customary or prudent for a woman to travel by herself, especially to exotic and possibly dangerous locations. But that never stopped her. She still circled the globe multiple times. And when she returned, we were regaled with tales of lofty peaks, deep sea creatures, bread slathered in yak butter, new friends, stone faced border guards and hot tea served tent-side by an attentive Tibetan Sherpa.

THE BOOK LOVER – Heather and I made many pilgrimages to The Strand Book Store in New York City, both of us gently tossing books across the counter and saying “here, read this.” Hers were about Third World issues of oppression and redemption; mine were historical anthologies of world leaders and events. We always read what the other recommended, and I was mesmerized by every book she tossed my way. She complained that all my selections were over a thousand pages long…doorstops, she called them. But she still read them.

THE JOKESTER – Heather returned from Cuzco, Peru 35 years ago to be the maid-of-honor at Jen’s and my wedding. She asked about rent. There was no way we were taking money from her, especially since she did not have a job, so I said “Just make sure we never run out of wine or toilet paper.” She agreed. When she moved out a few months later, she casually turned to me and said “I should have paid rent….it would have been cheaper.”

THE FIGHTER – As with virtually everything in her life, she was fiercely independent, self-reliant, passionate and determined. She fought her greatest battle with firm resolve, and beat the medical diagnosis five times over!!! One year ago, I arrived at a Copenhagen hospital on a rescue mission, bleary eyed and jet lagged, to find Heather hooked up to so many tubes she looked like an octopus. I said “I’m here.” She stared at me and said “Good. Now. Get. Me. The. Hell. Out. Of. Here!!!” It took a few days and an interesting flight back to New York, where I passed her off to Jennifer, who brought her back to Colorado. A week later, she had bounced back like a freshly inflated soccer ball!!! True grit right until the end.

AND FINALLY, HEATHER THE PERSON – Heather loved to hike, owl-watch and scuba dive. She loved to make lemon poppy seed scones, Brazilian black bean stew and Thai coconut soup. But most of all, she loved her family. And though she traveled the world and Colorado was her home, her heart was at “Synopsis”, the North Carolina home of her parents. She called it “Shangri-La”. She loved to lounge in her Guatemalan rope hammock by the pool, pick blueberries, play ‘drawing charades’, deal cards at New Year’s Eve casino nights and participate in our nightly “cooking and bonding” events. It truly was a Shangri-La.

The Dali Lama tells us “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” Heather is now in a place she’s never been before. And J.K. Rowling writes “Death is but the next great adventure.” Heather’s journey has not ended…HER next great adventure has just begun.

Heather passed away June 6, 2019.

Mary Abts

Mary C. Abts, 100, of Overland Park, Kan., died Wednesday, July 30, 2014 of natural causes. Mary lived a full, good life, and was surrounded by family and friends, many of whom helped her celebrate her 100th birthday in January.

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Mary was born January 16, 1914 in Iola to Morris H. and Catherine Abts. She graduated from grade school, high school and junior college in Iola, then studied at the University of Kansas. A fierce Jayhawk, Mary got her undergraduate and master of science degrees from KU and began a long, successful career as a medical technologist and educator in her field, mentoring hundreds of health care professionals in over 50 years of service.

During World War II, she served as a WAVE officer (lieutenant, j.g.) working as part of the U.S. biological warfare program, conducting research to protect the country from attack. After her service from 1943 – 1946, she remain in Naval Reserve through 1954. One of the highlights of Mary’s later years was her inclusion on a 2008 “Honor Flight” in recognition of her service during World War II.

She worked at Kansas City’s St. Joseph Hospital for 26 years, where she was named Employee of the Year for her remarkable work and dedication. She retired in 1976, but returned to work at Olathe Community Hospital before retiring again in 1986.

Mary was a member of the American Society for Medical Technologists and the American Legion Dwight Cowles Post. She was a devoted member of the St. Agnes Catholic Parish, and a resident of Roseland Park for five decades. In 2000, Mary moved to The Atriums in Overland Park, living there independently until June 2014. She loved her life and neighbors there and considered the staff to be great friends.

She was predeceased by her parents; her sister Maureen Abts; her sister and brother-in-law, Joan and Jim Scott; her brother and sister-in-law Maurice and Julia Abts; and her brothers-in-law Bud Lackey and Dale Robinson.

She is survived by her sisters, Louise Lackey and Frances Robinson, and three generations of nieces and nephews and their families, all of whom loved her and will miss her terribly.

Ruth E. Adomeit

Ruth E. Adomeit died February 16, 1996 at the age of 86 while residing at the Judson Park Retirement Community. Miss Adomeit was born in Cleveland. She lived in the large family home all of her lifetime. She worked as a secretary at the Cleveland Institute of Art and as an elementary school teacher.

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Miss Adomeit was an internationally known collector of miniature books and pre-Columbian artifacts. She was an arts patron who sponsored many shows and events. Her late father, George Adomeit, was considered an outstanding painter of the Cleveland School movement and was the owner of the Coxton Printing Company.

She started her collection of miniature books when her father gave her a couple while she was a student at Wellesley College. The collection grew to include more than 8,000 books. In 1988, she placed 3,500 of her volumes on exhibit at the Cleveland Public Library. Some of the books were hundreds of years old; including one that had been written by hand in 1320. It was believed to have been the largest exhibit of miniature books ever held.

Miss Adomeit was also interested in natural history and the environment. Among the organizations she supported were the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Nature Conservancy, and Heifer International.

A memorial was established in 1996 with Heifer International Foundation from the bequest and annuity funds of Ruth Adomeit totaling $21,353. Every year, income from the Ruth Adomeit Memorial will be used by Heifer International to help families produce food and income for themselves.

Caroll Isaac Alger

Carroll Isaac Alger was born in Missouri, February 4, 1909 but moved to Ohio at an early age. The Oldest of four siblings, Carroll, at age 13, assumed responsibility for the family when his father died; taking on a quiet leadership he lived throughout his life.

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He was always active within the Church of Brethren in the Northwestern Ohio District; he served in local congregations at denominational gatherings, and engaged in related mission work.

Carroll served others willingly and with skill. He helped after the floods in Pennsylvania, the Kokokahi Hunger Mission in Hawaii, as well as projects closer to his home. His vocational activities included Swift & Co. Creamery in Lima, and JR Watkins Co. home sales in Hardin County, Ohio.

Carroll died as he lived, at peace with God and neighbor, and in love, January 4, 1998.

A memorial was established in 1998 with Heifer International Foundation with a gift from Robert J. Alger of Ado, Ohio. Every year, income from the Carroll I. Alger Memorial will be used by Heifer International to help families produce food and income for themselves.

Robert P. Allen

Robert was born in 1904 in Abingdon, Illinois and moved with parents in 1906 to Monrovia, California where he attended local schools. He obtained degrees in Entomology; B.S. 1934, M.S. 1952. From 1939 to 1943 he was employed by the USDA in the Migratory Labor Program as a grant supervisor and Camp Manager.

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In 1943 Robert began a career, as an entomologist with the state of California, Department of Food and Agriculture and in 1947 was one of the first three in the new Pest Detection Program. He was best known as an avid collector and curator of insects. Thousands of his specimens are in the California State collection in Sacramento, at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and other museums.

In 1941 he married Anna. Later, they moved with their three children to riverfront property in LaGrange, CA where they lived for 43 years. They later made their home in Mt. Angel, Oregon. They were charter members of the Oakdale Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

After retirement in kept several hives of honeybees and helped other beekeepers. Robert belonged to many professional and charitable organizations, including Entomological Society of America, the Pacific Coast Entomological Society, Nature Conservancy to name a few. He enjoyed the outdoors for work and recreation. He also an outdoorsman and in his final years he climbed Mt. Angel 49 times before breaking his hip at age 98.

He is survived by daughter Karen of Grass Valley, California, sons Perry of Albany, Oregon, Peter of Silverton, Oregon, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Many families will be assisted through the contributions Robert made to Heifer International Foundation.

Arvid L. Anderson

Born the son of Lars and Ellen Anderson, he graduated from Stetson High School in Randolph, attended Gordon College and Gordon School of theology with a masters degree in 1940. He later did graduate work at Harvard Divinity School and Bridgewater State college and received a masters degree in education in 1967. Arvid L. Anderson was ordained at Avon Baptist Church on September 27, 1937, and from 1936 until 1952 he served Baptist churches.

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He joined the US Army Reserve and served on active duty as chaplain in Korea from 1952-1954, during which time he co-founded the SHIN Ae Won Orphanage at Wonju, South Korea. He served a total of 22 years in the Army Reserve, retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1974. After retirement he served interim pastorates at First congregational Church in Plympton and United Church of Assonet.

A memorial was established in 1999 with Heifer International Foundation from the bequest of Arvid L. Anderson totaling $5,000. Every year, income from the Arvid L. Anderson Memorial will be used by Heifer International to help families produce food and income for themselves.

Betty Jane Applegate

A memorial was established in 1996 with Heifer International Foundation from the bequest and annuities of Betty Jane Applegate.

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Every year, income from the Betty Jane Applegate Memorial will be used by Heifer International to help families produce food and income for themselves.

George W. Aschenbrenner

George Aschenbrenner was born on August 6, 1911, in Covina, CA. Mr. Aschenbrenner was a member of the Claremont United Methodist Church. He was a founding member of the Y.M.C.A. in Covina and the Pomona Valley Stamp Club. Mr. Aschenbrenner was also affiliated to the Wycliffe Bible Translators and was a contributor to the Claremont School of Theology.

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He was very involved in the work of Heifer International. He was one of the original Heifer cowboys. In 1948 he delivered goats to Japan, which was a life changing experience for him.

George W. Aschenbrenner passed away on July 3rd, 2003 in Claremont, California.

A memorial was established in 2003 with Heifer International Foundation with the bequest and annuity reserves of George Aschenbrenner. Every year, income from the George W. and Annette M. Aschenbrenner Memorial Endowment will be used by Heifer International to help families produce food and income for themselves.

Roy Awalt

Roy was born in Arkansas City, Kansas, on January 15, 1932, to Jack and Edith Cook Awalt. He spent most of his youth in Denver, and Zionsville.

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Roy graduated from Indiana University with a degree in chemistry in 1954. Upon graduation, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force and served three years as a Special Weapons Officer. He worked in the laboratory at Shell Oil in southern California, but soon realized he was much more of a people person, and sought an outside sales position. Roy was hired by Beckman Instruments and spent 26 years as a very successful sales engineer in their Analytical Instruments Division.

He was a natural leader and a natural athlete. He pursued excellence and adventure in most things he did. His zest for life led him to pursue many sports and pastimes. He was especially passionate about skiing and riding his BMW motorcycles. In retirement, he obtained his pilot’s license and pursued golf, swimming and fitness.

Roy will be remembered for his faith in God, love of his church, devotion to family, loyalty to friends, generosity of spirit, a “wicked” sense of humor, and his richly resonant bass voice.


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Debbie McCullough

Debbie McCullough