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Member Profile: We Remember Ann and Gere Howkins

Intellectually vibrant — and grateful for the ability to give

February 2013

Guerard "Gere" and Ann Howkins avoided the spotlight. They went about their lives quietly making a difference. God called this modest and generous couple home within eight months of each other last year. Their family has allowed us to honor Ann and Gere in print — in hope that others will be inspired to include Bread for the World in their will through a bequest.

"Gere and Ann were in their 80s when we first met," remembers Ed Hoyt, Bread for the World’s Northeast donor relations officer. "At that age, most people are not thinking about new ways to volunteer or changing the charities they support. They were intellectually vibrant—and grateful for the ability to give."

Ann was touched all her life by people who had withstood difficulty, yet still made time to help those in need. A woman of profound faith, she worked with others to gather food from community sources and distribute it to local food programs. She was a longtime member of a Massachusetts Bread for the World group. She also initiated a successful Offering of Letters at St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Church, where she and Gere worshipped.

For most of his career, Gere served as director of financial relations at Raytheon. "He knew about return on investment," Ed Hoyt explains. "He was a great questioner. He wanted to feel confident Bread was a good investment toward ending hunger. It was part of both Gere’s and Ann’s natures to carefully consider the facts before giving."

Until the end of their days, the two stayed current on issues of hunger, particularly here in the United States, and were always eager to hear the latest developments in Bread for the World's work.

Gere and Ann knew their estate plan was out of date. Like many of their generation, they'd settled their will as a young married couple. Much had changed since then, but the task kept moving to the bottom of their "to do" list. In 2008, though, they did update their will, which included a bequest to Bread for the World.

Making life better for those in need — and all who came into contact with them — was a priority for Gere and Ann. "When you were with them, they made it clear how interested they were, how much they enjoyed being with you," Gere’s sister Mary Ball recalls. "They made everyone feel that way."

Today, Ann's and Gere's bequest continues their legacy by helping Bread for the World win poverty-focused assistance directed for developing countries. "It was an honor to play a role in their lives—as they continue to do in mine," says Ed Hoyt. "I remain inspired by Ann and Gere’s generosity and their attitude of joy in giving."

Tax changes passed late last year by Congress make creating or updating your estate plans more important than ever. Congress also extended the provision for the charitable IRA rollover. You may request—free of charge and without obligation—a helpful new booklet, "Effective Giving for 2013," at www.bread.org/store. You are also welcome to contact Jim Lund, vice president of Development and Membership at 1-800-822-7323, ext. 1091 or jlund@bread.org. Or visit www.bread.org/plannedgiving.

Photo Caption: Ann and Gere Howkins continue to make life better for those in need through their bequest to Bread for the World. Photo courtesy the Howkins family.

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