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With Profound Thanksgiving

The Catholic Foundation receives generous planned gift for priests, seminarians

Frank LeMieux has an impressive track record of anticipating the future. He built his first computer in his kitchen in Mount Morris back in 1973. So, it’s not surprising Frank has had such a successful and lucrative career in the world of technology.

“I was brought up in a poor household in Mount Morris by a mother who embodied the virtues of faith and hard work in the face of adversity,” says Frank.

Frank’s Catholic faith has been part of his life since his youth. His late mother, Anna, volunteered him to be an altar boy every week at the 7 a.m. Sunday Mass at St. Mary Parish. 

“I’ve no doubt that what my mother taught by example helped me to build such a fascinating and rewarding career that took me all over the world, where I met so many remarkable people and worked on so many challenging and worthwhile projects. Yes, I’ve been very blessed.”

After leaving school, Frank was an avionics technician in the U.S. Navy. That was followed by 20 years as an industrial electrician at General Motors’ Buick plant in Flint. Then, in 1985, when GM bought Electronic Data Systems (EDS), Frank transitioned to EDS, where his skills were in demand across the globe. After 21 years with EDS, Frank retired in 2005 as a senior network architect.

Now 77 years old, Frank is looking to the future again. His prayerful desire has been to leave a substantial share of his estate to a worthy cause. But which one? Frank’s prayer was answered in an abrupt fashion two years ago.

“I was woken up in the middle of the night by a voice, it was a male voice, saying, ‘Do this!’ It was like a vision. Very vivid. Very real,” recalls Frank, “It was then I knew I had to give my wealth to those young men who are studying for the priesthood.”

Frank now knew what he wanted to do, but he still was not sure how to do it. With the expert help of his financial adviser, Eric Gasper of Edward Jones, and a couple of Eric’s retired priest friends, he connected with Matt Hufnagel, president of The Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Lansing.

The Catholic Foundation helps individuals and families support the Catholic parishes, schools and ministries that they love. The foundation serves Catholic organizations by stewarding financial resources, fostering giving and assisting in providing for the Church’s long-term financial needs. That includes Legacy Gift Planning.

“Frank brought me onto his team, which included his financial adviser, Eric, and his estate planning attorney, Heidi McAra,” explains Matt Hufnagel.

“Together, we helped Frank build a trust plan that includes leaving most of his estate to two endowments: one to benefit our future priests and one to benefit our retired priests.”

Hence, the Diocese of Lansing’s seminarians will now be helped by Frank’s giving to the St. John Paul II Endowment for Major Seminarians, while the diocese’s retired priests will benefit from a new fund: The Francis “Frank” LeMieux Senior Priest Housing Endowment.

“I discovered during this journey how important it is to support our senior priests, to make sure they have a decent place to live when they reach retirement age,” says Frank.

“It feels good to know I can help our retired priests of today and our young priests-to-be of the future. Thank you to Matt and all the team at The Catholic Foundation. They have helped to make this journey and the entire process an answer to my prayers.”

In more recent decades, Frank has been a parishioner at SS Charles & Helena in Clio. He freely admits to being in tears upon recently receiving a personal “thank you” from the present bishop of Lansing.

“It is a beautiful gift! Frank’s care for the priests of our diocese is very touching. What a blessing he is to us!” said Bishop Earl Boyea.