A lasting legacy of love Oklahoma woman leaves lasting impact on OC
In her 88 years, Pauline Rasberry touched the lives of countless people. She had a strong Christian heart and a fantastic sense of humor, and was a friend to all.
A lifelong member of the Church of Christ, including more than 40 years with the Wilshire congregation in Oklahoma City, Pauline lived her faith.
When she passed away in January, Oklahoma Christian lost a devoted friend. But thanks to her foresight and planning, her legacy lives on at OC.
"Pauline always sat down front," says OC alumnus Jeremie Beller (00), Wilshire's congregation minister. "She appeared to be unassuming and quiet. And she was extremely generous and outgoing."
Church held a special place in her heart, but Pauline's family was equally important. She and her late husband, Bob, married later in life and never had children, but Pauline reached out to extended family.
Paul McMahan had an especially strong bond with his great aunt, which began nearly 23 years ago when she supported him while he was a single father raising a two-year-old daughter. The relationship deepened through the years, and his children referred to her as their beloved Auntie Grandma.
"She was a surrogate mother to me, a surrogate grandmother to my kids and a great Christian example to my family," Paul said. "We loved her very, very much."
Like many who lived through the Depression, Pauline worked hard and saved hard. For more than 45 years she worked at Oklahoma Gas and Electric while enjoying a simple lifestyle. Her free time often was devoted to helping others through church groups, the Oklahoma Christian Women's Association and her own private ministries.
Although neither Bob nor Pauline graduated from college, they felt a strong connection with Oklahoma Christian, largely due to its affiliation with the Churches of Christ. The Rasberrys made several donations to OC while also giving generously to Wilshire and other missions.
"Pauline loved the mission of OC and what it was doing in terms of educating young Christians," OC director of planned giving Stephen Eck said.
In later years, after Bob had passed away, Pauline moved into Tealridge Retirement Community near the OC campus. There, her affection for Oklahoma Christian deepened even further. As she contemplated how to leave her estate, she chose to make a unique gift that would financially benefit both her family and OC.
Pauline established a revocable living trust that gave some funds directly to certain members of her family, with the remainder of her estate funding an educational trust at OC. As she explained to Paul, "I want to leave the money to Oklahoma Christian, but I want the remaining kids in the family to use that if they choose."
The trust specifically provides for the educational expenses of Pauline's great-great nephews and nieces who choose to attend OC. After paying these expenses, the remaining money in the trust will fund the Pauline Rasberry Scholarship Endowment at Oklahoma Christian, which will benefit future OC students.
"She's able to give them something that will last them a lifetime - an education," Paul said.
Pauline's gift is also the secret to a strong future for OC and the talented students it attracts.
"Creative gift plans like Pauline's literally transform lives by making a top-tier education like OC's a financial reality for students who might not otherwise be able to afford it," Eck said.