A Memoir – Jean Raleigh Kindle

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By Jerry R. Tompkins, President-emeritus

Jean Kindle had the kind of beauty you would notice from across a crowded room: a face that was finely symmetrical, beautifully coiffed hair, flawless skin. As for dress, she understood precisely what her colors were and what were not. And she was always engaged in conversation with somebody.

The second thing you noticed about Jean was “Pup,” her husband. They were always within eye-shot of one another. Everyone knew they were devoted to each other, but then a lot of couples are. What you noticed about these two that was special was that they really, truly liked each other. That is, perhaps, rarer than love in many marriages. They were rarely apart.

I have been intentional about “across a crowded room,” because that is how my wife Marcia and I first saw Jean and then, immediately, Pup, in 1974 — 42 years ago — when Jean was nearly 60. There was always something ageless about her, up until the day she died at age 99.

Pup was a wise investor, a quality he shared with Jean. Pup died in 1981 but our friendship with Jean continued. Over time I came to appreciate what a remarkable person she was: smart and savvy about business and investing, a person fiercely loyal to her friends and to various causes she cared about, exceptionally generous, and she could be quite funny. She was also eccentric, could be sardonic and she could spot fraud, human or financial, a mile away. She was intuitive to the bone and sized people up within 30 seconds of being introduced to them. She was usually right.  And I learned from experience that if I wanted her opinion about something, to be prepared–because, like it or not, she was going to tell me exactly what she thought.

Jean was as deliberate in how she invested her time as she was her money. For several years she was an assistant to various legislators at the capitol.  She didn’t need the job or the money, but she loved people and found the political atmosphere fascinating and entertaining.  She liked being where the action was, even though “action” isn’t always the right word when observing the legislature at work. Jean had comments about that, too.

In the mid-1980s when I served as president of Presbyterian Children’s Home and Service Agency, which later became Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services (PCHAS), I invited Don Hauck to serve as our Vice President of Development. It was a most fortuitous move. Don brought credentials not only in fund raising but in estate planning as well as the sensitivity of an experienced pastor. One day I suggested he call on Jean. Perhaps she would welcome some help with estate planning which could also include a bequest to PCHSA.

For months he met with Jean, getting to know her and listening to her as she told him who and what she cared about in life. He offered guidance in how she could honor Pup, relatives, numerous organizations and finally, PCHAS.

Don and his wife Margie were among Jean’s closest friends until her death, and Jean was a guest in their North Carolina summer home year after year.  There are some great stories about how one helps a woman in her mid-90s, who typically was not afraid of anybody or anything, manage plane changes in Atlanta.

Jean and Pup had no children of their own, but thousands of youngsters across many years in the future will be blessed by Jean’s thoughtful planning and, especially, her generosity.


Editor’s Note:  In 2015, PCHAS learned it is the charitable beneficiary of Jean Kindle’s estate, which when fully realized will be the largest gift PCHAS has ever received.  PCHAS celebrates Jerry Tompkins and Don Hauck and their forty-year friendship with Jean and Pup Kindle.  The Jean Raleigh Kindle Endowment Fund will benefit, in perpetuity, future generations of children and families in need.