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Beloved teacher leaves $2 million gift

Hutchinson Public Library, Boys and Girls Clubs and Hutchinson Community Foundation each receive $666,000 for operations and endowment efforts

Hutchinson, Kan. -- Debbie Johnson Mosier touched the lives of thousands of Hutchinson students in her 21 years of teaching elementary, middle school and high school. Now her legacy will reach thousands more through a gift of $2 million to Hutchinson Public Library, Boys and Girls Clubs of Hutchinson and Hutchinson Community Foundation.

"The Hutchinson Public Library board and staff are surprised, pleased and humbled to have been remembered in such a way by Mrs. Mosier. While we have not committed to any one project, her gift will be used to improve the Library in a major and meaningful way," said Gregg Wamsley, Library Director.

For Hutchinson Community Foundation, the $666,000 gift establishing the Debbie Mosier Fund for Hutchinson represents a major stride. “The Fund for Hutchinson is our community savings account,” said Aubrey Abbott Patterson, Hutchinson Community Foundation President. “Debbie saw that endowing her gift would make the greatest long-term impact, and would allow us to address the ever-changing needs in our community.  Debbie’s endowed gift moves us even closer to our 2017 goal of $3 million for the Fund for Hutchinson.”

Skip Wilson, Chief Professional Officer at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hutchinson said, “As an educator, Debbie’s heart was with kids, and we feel so fortunate that she thought so highly of our work at the Boys & Girls Club and gave a gift that will endure for years. Gifts like these allow us to focus on the now knowing our future is becoming more secure.”

“Debbie truly touched everyone in our community with this gift,” said Patterson. “Her gifts will have an immediate impact at the Boys & Girls Club and at the Hutchinson Public Library, while the Debbie Mosier Fund for Hutchinson will impact many generations of people in our community.”

Deborah Leslie “Debbie” Johnson Mosier

Debbie Mosier and her classmates at Hutchinson High School celebrated their 50th reunion just a few short weeks before Debbie passed away on December 14, 2013.

“Debbie was very proud of growing up in Hutchinson,” said friends Patty Crews and Chery Lackey. “She has a big smile now not because of pride, but because she’s happy that she could do something for the community she loved.”

Debbie grew up in Hutchinson and attended Morgan Elementary School. As a child, she was very involved in First Presbyterian Church as part of their choir, as well as Girl Scouts.

“When the carpool pulled up to her house, she would bound down the steps with a smile on her face, a friend to everyone,” said Crews. Like other girls, she was known to re-do her hair and put on different clothes once she got in the car.

Debbie was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma at the University of Kansas, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She then went on to earn her master’s in Secondary Education from Wichita State University.

Following college she returned to Hutchinson, moved to Colorado Springs in 1977 and came back to Hutchinson in 1982. She was listed in “Who’s Who of America’s Teachers” twice and was a finalist for “Educator of the Year” five times while teaching at Liberty Middle School. For the last nine years of her teaching career, she worked as a paraprofessional helping students with special needs. She retired in 2010. “It was important to Debbie to be a good teacher, person and example for others,” said friend Liz Peirce. “She is remembered for the generosity she showed to her family and friends.”

Debbie was a true caregiver to her stepfather, Homer Jennings. “She took him to Sunday brunch every week and called him at the same time every night,” said Peirce. “They cared deeply for each other.”

Debbie met Roger Mosier while singing in the adult choir at First Presbyterian Church. “Roger is a man of great faith, and they strived to learn more and strengthen their faith together,” said Crews.

They were married in December 2002, and she opened her arms to four stepchildren, their spouses and three grandchildren. “I have loved getting to help whenever we can have the grandchildren!” said Debbie in her 50th high school reunion book. “I guess I have done most of what I wanted to do.”

When Debbie’s mother, Arlene (Leslie) Johnson Jennings, passed away, Debbie became the beneficiary of a charitable trust that would be distributed upon Debbie’s death to charitable organizations of her choice.  Jim Gilliland, attorney, said, “It was my pleasure to help Debbie select the charities she wished to benefit and assist her in implementing those wishes.” 

Peirce said, “Debbie was able to make lives better in Hutchinson. Her gift will touch kids at the Club, people of all ages at the library, and many, many generations of people through the Fund for Hutchinson. What a well-rounded gift!”

For more information on including charitable gifts as part of your estate plans, contact Aubrey Patterson at 620-663-5293.

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