Chuck & Denise Roemer

Chuck Roemer learned the importance of generosity at a young age, and despite his impressive education, the most important lessons he ever learned were the ones that came from home.

Born in 1933, Roemer grew up on Angela Boulevard a few blocks from the train tracks. In later years, he remembered the trainhoppers who passed by his home, but most of all he would remember that his mother, Carmel Luther Roemer, was always willing to feed the hungry ones.

As an adult, Chuck would join the Air Force in 1953, graduate from Notre Dame’s Law School, and become a top estate planning attorney in South Bend. True to his upbringing, Roemer always encouraged his clients to consider their charitable giving and helped them build a legacy that would last beyond their lives.

The whole time, he was also building a legacy of his own.

In 1974, Roemer founded Leadership SBM to help guarantee a stream of future leaders across Michiana. The organization is still thriving, with more than 3,000 individuals counted as program alumni – and as a part of Chuck’s legacy.

But he was far from finished. Two decades after beginning Leadership SBM, Roemer was ready to help build something else, and in 1992 he helped start the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County. Chuck served on the CFSJC board for many years, including a stint as board chair. Today, the Foundation is approaching $300 million in total assets and grants more than $12 million every year to make life in our community better.

In 1996, Chuck and Denise Roemer began a donor advised family fund with the Foundation with a $10,000 gift. The fund has continued to grow over almost thirty years. Chuck Roemer passed away in 2017. When Denise passed in December 2023, a portion of their assets went to help grow the Roemer Family Fund.

Now, their legacy has been handed down to their children. One daughter, Greta Roemer Lewis, has become a top estate planning attorney herself, and served with the Community Foundation for 13 years, including as board chair.

With the passing of her parents, Greta and her siblings will be the ones advising about how the Roemer Family Fund will be used to impact the community.

“You create this donor advised fund and your kids can be involved,” she says. “I’m excited to sit down with my siblings to decide how we can make an impact.”

In life, Chuck and Denise beamed with goodwill, kindness, and unfailing optimism. The Community Foundation helps people pass on their values, not just their assets. That’s exactly what Chuck and Denise Roemer did, and their legacy will continue to shine bright.

P.O. Box 837, South Bend, IN 46624 | 305 S. Michigan St., South Bend, IN 46601 | Phone: (574) 232-0041 | Fax: (574) 233-1906

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