Community Foundation of St. Joseph County

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Lucy Lee Minnix

A Gift of Permanent Support for an Organization She Cherished

Lucy Minnix at the Museum, January 2011

Lucy Lee Minnix was a life-long learner who believed in the importance of family, teaching, and knowledge. More than most, she understood and appreciated the educational opportunities provided by the Hannah Lindahl Children’s Museum for both herself and her community. 

Lucy’s life began during one of the most tumultuous times in our nation’s history: 1929, the year of the Crash. Lucy’s mother, Lelia Will Minnix, was a soft-spoken woman whom Lucy admired and tried to emulate. She spoke of her mother as a talented musician, who loved cooking and singing. Lucy’s father Calvin was a man who lived by the book, and didn’t have much patience for incompetence. In many ways, her parents were opposites with personalities that balanced and complimented each other, helping to form Lucy’s own unique personality.

Growing up on the family farm sheltered Lucy from the worst of the Depression, because the family grew, raised and made what they needed. The outside world didn’t affect that lifestyle as much as it did families who relied on urban jobs. Lucy knew her roots and was proud of them. However, she didn’t shy away from the sacrifice and hard work that living on a farm taught her.

Lucy remembered the sacrifice of selling a beloved horse, which enabled her to go to college.  She worked in the cafeteria at Ball State to earn spending money and accepted the fact that her parents had to sell a pig now and then to help pay for her college education. Lucy excelled in school.

She became a teacher, and her love of teaching consumed her life. She gave her whole being to the calling for more than thirty years. She taught in the South Bend School Corporation as a speech and hearing teacher, and later went back to school to earn her elementary license. She taught in a mission school in Nigeria, Africa, for two years and worked as a missionary helper. She finished her teaching career in the Penn Harris Madison School Corporation.

Lucy enjoyed the time that she spent with her family and spoke often of the annual family wood cuttings, holiday gatherings, and many family birthdays and weddings. She looked forward to going home to be with her little sister Nancy, brother-in-law Roy, and their children. She was tremendously proud of her nieces and nephews and loved to share their accomplishments.

In her retirement, Lucy took up framing and wood carving and volunteering at Pet Refuge. Then, one day, she answered an ad in the newspaper placed by the Hannah Lindahl Children’s Museum asking for volunteers who might be interested in computers. She would spend the next twenty plus years helping Peggy Marker at HLCM, doing everything and anything. She began to unravel the mysteries that were held in the many displays and the boxes in the Museum, and learning about the city of Mishawaka, its founders, and the quirky people that added to its charm and personality became her second career.

“Lucy was a great friend and associate and I am proud to say that I have known her,” says Peggy Marker, former Director of Hannah Lindahl Children’s Museum. “She will always have a special place in my heart and because of her generous nature will be long remembered as a loving sister, aunt, great aunt, great great aunt, friend, teacher, missionary, and volunteer. She will be truly missed.”

When Lucy passed away in 2013 at the age of 83, she remembered HLCM and the special place that it was to her. Lucy made a substantial donation to the Museum’s endowment fund, held with the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County. This donation will have a positive impact long into the future by continuing the work that she began at HLCM. We remember Lucy, her family, and thank her for the gifts that she generously gave to support the Museum.

Special thanks to the Hannah Lindahl Children's Museum for providing this story.