Peggy Bennett, at left, recently joined John Schneider and Dave Colver as a trustee on the William E. Heginbotham Trust. — The Holyoke Enterprise | Johnson Publications
Heginbotham Trust appoints Peggy Bennett
Peggy Bennett, a Phillips County native, was recently appointed to the William E. Heginbotham Trust.
She joined current trustees Dave Colver, who has served since 1985, and John Schneider, who was appointed in 2005. Mary Louise Evans submitted a letter of resignation at the trust’s March 20 meeting due to health reasons.
Bennett comes to the trust with a unique perspective — she is one of the remaining people who worked with Heginbotham himself. Immediately after graduating from Phillips County High School in 1957, Bennett went to work at Holyoke’s First National Bank as a bookkeeper, a job she held until 1961.
“I really enjoyed working with Will,” she said.
The Heginbotham Trust is just shy of 50 years, having been founded after Heginbotham’s death in 1968. In his last will and testament, Heginbotham bequeathed his estate, in trust, to the people of Phillips County.
The three trustees meet on the third Wednesday of every month in an inconspicuous building at 220 S. Interocean Ave. in Holyoke to receive funding requests from nonprofits.
Schneider said their goal is to give out the trust’s interest each year, which is to be spent “for general betterment and improvement of the people in Phillips County,” according to the will.
Colver said the trustees like to come alongside organizations and partner with people who have good ideas.
Having lived in Phillips County most of her life, Bennett said she is excited to follow in Heginbotham’s steps by using philanthropy to make things better in local communities.
Bennett and her family have deep roots in the county. Both of her grandfathers — John Alberts and Albert Vogel — moved to Phillips County from Nebraska in the 1920s. Bennett was born in the Paoli area and, after a short time in Denver, returned to Holyoke because her dad was serving in World War II.
Bennett married Merle Bennett Jr. in 1961 and became a “farm girl.” They raised three sons — Michael, Tom and Chris — in the rural Pleasant Valley community.
Bennett moved to Holyoke in 2011 and stays busy with Friends of the Library, Eureka Club, Meet and Eat, First United Methodist Church, and her eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.