June 25, 2019 // 1:02 PM

Creating Art With Purpose

Written by Juanita Fox

When Bonnie Lord, Garden Spot Village resident since December 2008, received a phone call from Bill Offutt, she was intrigued. In their conversation Bill shared that he and his wife, Ruth Anne, were preparing to move from their home in Lancaster to Wheaton, Illinois. They were downsizing and looking for someone who might want his father’s stained glass tools and materials.

Bill’s father picked up stained glass as an art in his 90s and had acquired a significant amount of materials and equipment. After a few phone calls, Bill was referred to Bonnie.

Bonnie enlisted the help of fellow stained glass artists—Ed Mills, resident since October 2017, and Dick Endres, resident since March 2017—to pick up the donation.

When Bonnie, Ed, Ed’s wife Ethel, and Dick arrived at the Offutt’s home, they were delighted with the donation. They found a glass saw, a grinder, a soldering iron and glass. Ed, who recently resumed work in stained glass, was pleased because he needed a saw. Bonnie claimed the grinder, which she plans to share with students in future classes, and they all split the rest of the materials. They also invited Bill Baumgardner and Jim Sauer, also stain glass artists at Garden Spot Village, to choose materials they could use.

“We needed to share the bounty,” Bonnie says.

Bill’s only request? That the group make a sun catcher or a small glass item for each of his grandchildren, so they would have a memento of their great grandfather, who passed away in February 2019.

Bonnie, Ed and Dick quickly went to work making sun catchers. Bonnie made an angel for 6-year-old Gabi, Ed made a unicorn for 13-year-old Addy and a shark for 18-year-old Zion and Dick made a cardinal for 9-year-old Emily.

Ed and Ethel dropped off the sun catchers before Bill and Ruth Anne moved. “We had a wonderful visit,” Ed says. “They invited us in for coffee and we enjoyed an hour visiting with them.”
A few days later a card arrived in the mail.

“This brief note cannot capture the delight nor express the appreciation I have for your wonderful gift of not one, but four beautiful, original sun catchers for my grandchildren,” Bill wrote. “You have exceeded my expectations by miles…this is greater than I imagined would have resulted from my request to have something to honor my father. Thank you for gifts that will last a lifetime.”

The exchange offered an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children they may never meet and provide a precious reminder for a family who recently lost a loved one.