The grand opening of the new Radium library in August 2018. File photo

Library endowment fund receives legacy gift

$5,000 gifted in memory of Dr. Rod Conklin, who loved the new library in Radium

Dr. Rod Conklin, who passed away in June, will give to the Radium Public Library into perpetuity through the endowment fund a gift in his honour helped to establish.

Dee Conklin donated $5,000 to the fund in memory of her beloved, who spent his career as an educator, starting as a high school teacher before spending 30 years as a professor at the University of Calgary. He also co-founded a school in Calgary called Rundle College.

“When he started (Rundle College), it was all about helping students discover their potential and challenging them to attain their best and celebrating with them when they did,” Dee said.

Living near the Radium Hot Springs Centre, home to the new and improved library, she and Rod would watch people going into the building all the time.

“Once this new library was built a year or so ago, my goodness he fell in love with it,” she said. “The whole place of learning for him was super important.”

The pair knew about the library’s intention to establish an endowment fund and had discussed leaving a legacy gift when Rod passed on.

“As a legacy, it’s a wonderful way to give back,” Dee said.

Their gift was doubly wonderful as it allowed the library to surpass the $10,000 minimum requirement to get the fund going.

Now that the fund exists, Laurie Klassen, executive director of the Columbia Valley Community Foundation, said it will be invested and will provide 4.5 per cent back to the library in interest each year.

“This will give a sustainable stream of income forever,” she said.

Because only the money that the investment accumulates is spent, she said the endowment fund offers donors “a real peace of mind that their gift will give forever, and it won’t be just frittered away.”

The interest from the fund will be used to hold more events at the library, from bringing in more authors and performers to establishing long-term programming, said library director Jacqueline Wagner, adding that it will allow the library to “maintain our programming and amp it up a bit.”

The funding will also allow Dee to find some sweetness in the midst of her loss.

“Every time I go to the library, I’ll think of him,” she said. “The day we met is the day we knew we were together forever… The moment I met him it was so instant… like within six weeks we were moving in together.”

The love that started so quickly held steady to the end.

“Not that many people ever find what I would consider true love, and I do believe we had it. It was pretty special,” she said. “He supported me in everything I ever did.”

And she was pleased to honour his memory with a gift to the library.

“People come and go. We all know that, but if you can leave something behind in their memory – whether it be a park bench or it be something where their name is always there – I know my husband will always be at the library,” she said.

To donate, visit www.valleyfoundation.ca and select the Radium Hot Springs Public Library Endowment Fund or consider leaving a legacy gift in your will.

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