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Children will benefit from cash given to Ida Marge Guild

By Jessica Keller, The Courier-Herald

An unexpected award from a Buckley estate will benefit children at Tacoma's Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Health Center.

The estate of George Garnero Jr., bequeathed a little more than $202,000 to the Ida Marge Orthopedic Guild in Buckley. Garnero was the brother-in-law of Katherine Garnero, married to the eldest Garnero brother (Joseph), and she was a long-time member of the Ida Marge Guild in Buckley.

Secretary LuAnn Hedges of the Ida Marge Guild said if it wasn't for Katherine Garnero's membership and the Garnero brothers, the guild probably never would have been recognized.

"We did not have any idea that that was ever going to happen," Hedges said. "The Garnero brothers were very generous."

Hedges said this is the first time in the 25 years she has been a member of the Ida Marge Orthopedic Guild, which was formed 48 years ago, the guild has been named a beneficiary of an estate.

In addition to the Ida Marge Guild, various organizations in the state and the Plateau were recipients of the Garnero estate, including the Buckley Fire Department and Enumclaw Community Hospital. The guild was among five organizations that each received 20 percent of the remainder of the estate once the rest of the money had been distributed.

The Garnero family estate came from monetary funds accumulated over the years of three of the four Garnero brothers, Paul, John and George, who were all bachelors.

Before John Garnero's death, he spoke with George, who passed away last year, about what should happen to the remainder of the family estate. According to the release from the Garnero estate, George Garnero followed his brother's explicit instructions, which have created "these community enhancing bequests."

Hedges said when guild members were informed in May 2003, the guild had been bequeathed money from the Garnero estate, they were surprised and pleased. She said when they found out just how much was bequeathed, they were flabbergasted.

"When we got that letter in the mail that we were bequeathed money, we were envisioning maybe a couple of thousand dollars." Hedges said. "We never, ever imagined in our wildest dreams it would be almost $203,000."

Although the money was bequeathed to the guild, since Ida Marge Guild is an umbrella of the Tacoma Orthopedic Association, the funds go to TOA, which is a charitable organization of volunteers who further the interest and aid in support of Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Health Center.

A letter from the Garnero estate's lawyer informed the Tacoma Orthopedic Association of the award to Buckley's Ida Marge Guild in January of this year.

The money was given to TOA a couple of months ago and is currently in its trust fund. While she does not know for sure, Hedges thinks TOA trustees might use the money to purchase pediatric care equipment for Mary Bridge's new outpatient building.

Hedges said, like Ida Marge members, TOA members were also flabbergasted by the bequeathment, and Hedges said it was one of the biggest bequeathments TOA has ever received.

"It was just super," she said, adding members of TOA are also grateful for the bequeathment and have expressed their thanks to the Garnero estate and the Ida Marge guild members.

"Our guild has been well-recognized by the association down there, but we always are," Hedges said.

"For just a little guild out in Buckley we're one of the top guilds of TOA," Hedges added. "So we're very proud."

The Ida Marge Orthopedic Guild was formed in 1956 and named after Ida Marge Larson Rooney. After her husband died, Rooney, who was born in South Prairie in 1916, moved back to the area in 1948 with her three children, settling in Buckley and working as a school teacher. She died in 1955, leaving her children in the care of her sister and brother-in-law, Elvera and Frank Honsowetz. When charter members of Ida Marge, one of whom was Elvera Honsowetz, were thinking of what to name their guild, they chose Ida Marge because they felt her life characterized courage, dedication and concern for children.

But Hedges said, while the guild has flourished over the years in Buckley, it has been the community that has supported the group, and the guild is extremely grateful to the community.

"Everybody out here supports the guild wonderfully in everything we do, so we wouldn't be doing anything like this if it wasn't for the community," Hedges said.

Jessica Keller can be reached at jkeller@courierherald.com

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