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"We've Come a Long Way Baby"

Frances McLaughlin Stauffacher

Frances McLaughlin Stauffacher celebrated her 105th birthday on June 19, 2016.

Shortly after her birth on June 19, 1911, the priest was called to the hospital for fear she would not survive. Little did they know!

Frances McLaughlin Stauffacher celebrated her 105th birthday on June 19th with family and friends at Meth-Wick Community. At 5'0", the key to her longevity may be the charming wit and spunky personality befitting her Irish/Spanish heritage. Her grasp of over a century of history is clear and as she likes to say, "we've come a long way baby."

She converses just as easily about her childhood as she does the current events she garners from daily newspapers and CNN. She notices details and her husband George, a newspaper man, claimed, "Frances would stop the press for a comma!"

Her family moved from Kenwood to Cedar Rapids to enroll her in the second kindergarten class at Arthur Elementary School in Cedar Rapids. In 2015, she was an honored guest at Arthur's centennial celebration.

Frances attended Mount Mercy Junior College during the Great Depression. Living at home, she walked from 28th Street Drive SE and Second Avenue to the Mount Mercy campus twice a day. She was a member of the second graduating class of Mount Mercy Junior College in 1931 and went on to complete her bachelor's degree at Coe College.

As a young woman, Frances participated in "River Swim," a five-mile swim from "High Rock" (across Edgewood Road on Ellis Boulevard) to the "Northwestern Bridge" in downtown Cedar Rapids. She remembers the swim took all afternoon as they zigzagged down the river and then she adds, "I went dancing that night!"

During World War II, Frances joined the American Red Cross as a recreation worker in a military hospital. She later worked at Mayo General Hospital in Galesburg, Illinois. Frances and her husband George lived in Florida for 20 years before retiring in Cedar Rapids.

As a loyal alumna, Frances has been a faithful supporter of Mount Mercy for decades and she has rarely missed the annual Alumni Weekend. Still driving her trusty 1990's Buick at age 100, she made it clear she was not at all happy when Mount Mercy removed the main drive—forever changing access to the campus she knew so well.

On the lighter side, Frances proudly wears her Irish green on St. Patrick's Day and jokes, "I've been told that the first 100 years are the hardest."

It's no joke that Frances went off the high dive at age 90 and when Meth-Wick added two therapy pools this year, Frances donned a new swim suit and was the first resident to enter the pool.

Frances' passion for life has created opportunities for others. She established the George & Frances Stauffacher Endowed Scholarship at Mount Mercy in 2000. Frances has peace of mind knowing that the Stauffacher Endowed Scholarship will continue to grow and generate yearly scholarships long after she's gone. Years ago she also made provisions to boost the scholarship through her estate plan.

Have you considered your legacy?
Why not make it a priority to sustain the organizations that have impacted you and your loved ones? Contact Lonna Drewelow at (319) 368-6468 or ldrewelow@mtmercy.edu for information on how to maximize your charitable giving at Mount Mercy University. As you consider how to distribute the assets you have accumulated throughout your lifetime, we can serve as a resource to help you achieve your philanthropic goals.

eBrochure Request Form

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Mount Mercy University a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Mount Mercy University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Cedar Rapids, IA, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Mount Mercy University or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Mount Mercy University as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Mount Mercy University as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Mount Mercy University where you agree to make a gift to Mount Mercy University and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

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