Legacy Giving: Bob and Charlene Lind

Legacy Giving: Bob and Charlene Lind and Kiki Cappony

When Bob Lind passed away from COVID-19 complications in December 2020, a friendship that began during the heyday of two careers came to an end.

Kiki Cappony and Charlene Lind met as teachers in the 1960s at Hutchinson High School. Kiki taught physical education and sponsored the Salt Shakers drill team. Charlene taught business and was eventually a department chairwoman. Their association expanded to include Charlene’s husband, Bob, who was a Farm Bureau insurance adjuster and, along with Charlene, owned area laundromats.

Doing the gutsy thing

Education opened the world for Kiki and Charlene during a time when options for women outside the home were limited.

Growing up in Indiana, Kiki pursued athletics, playing basketball in the Girls’ Athletic Association, one of the only such options for girls in the days before Title IX. Eventually, she studied physical education at Hanover College, a move her parents forbid, as she told The Hutchinson News in 1980.

“‘My parents believed a woman should marry and raise a family. I wanted something else,'” Kiki said.

Kiki went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and certification from Fort Hays State University and led drill teams to numerous competitions and events, notably President Ronald Reagan’s 1980 inauguration in Washington, D.C., and London’s Easter parade in 1984.

The Linds hailed from Manhattan. Charlene worked her way through Kansas State University, racking up academic accolades along the way, and eventually earned a master’s degree in business education in 1960 from the University of Wisconsin. By the time she began the office education program at Hutch High in 1968, she was selected by the American Business Association for an Outstanding Young Women of America award. She continued innovating curriculum, building bold, award-winning workforce development programs that emphasized real-world experience.

“‘I give workshops on this, and I keep trying to get teachers to throw away the textbooks, and as I say, get gutsy,'” she told The News in a 1977 story about Lester Hill Corp., the simulated hotel supply company business her students oversaw.

Becoming family

The trio were guests in each other’s homes, shared holidays together and came to rely on each other over the years for help when the need arose, such as in 1980, when Kiki stayed with the Linds to recuperate from a car wreck.

They also shared a sense of generosity and desire to make a difference, whether it was volunteering at the hospital or serving at a favorite nonprofit or in their churches, Trinity United Methodist and Grace Episcopal.

“Bob volunteered to pick up day-old bread and distribute it to either the high school or the soup kitchen and to haul off items for the Fair Priced Clothing Store,” said his friends Sue and Larry Wagerle. “Bob was frugal and believed in helping other people.”

Each friend’s frugality and desire to help others intertwined in their estate plans at Hutchinson Community Foundation, where they were Legacy Society members. Their belief in education and passion for the community is reflected in the scholarship funds they established and gifts to churches and nonprofit organizations that serve the needs of Hutchinson and Reno County.

The Wagerles remember a friend who was a “quiet, humble giver, more concerned with the recipient’s well-being than his giving.”

Longtime friend Laura Meyer Dick said of Kiki, “She always would say that her students were her children and she wanted to give back to education so her gift could benefit students in the future.”

Indeed, neither Kiki nor Charlene and Bob had children, so as the years progressed, they made provisions for one another in their plans. Charlene died in 2014, leaving Kiki and Bob to look out for each other even more.

“She admired Bob, and Char was like a sister,” Meyer Dick said of Kiki. “They were family and wanted to make sure each of them was taken care of even when the others were gone. Bob’s death from COVID hit Kiki very hard-they talked daily after Char passed and he was her caregiver.”

Kiki died eight months after Bob in August 2021. Though the friendship that began so long ago is no longer, the spirit of it-the caring and the generosity-carries on through the lives they continue to impact.

“‘I don’t have much money, but whatever I do have, I want to give back to the community,'” Kiki told The News in 2009. “‘The community has done a lot for me and hopefully I can do something for it.'”