Sheron Austin’s legacy gift makes lasting impact

Sheron Austin lived a modest life, but she left significant legacy gifts to her friends, her neighbours and causes that were important to her.

“I know Sheron would be thrilled to know that she has impacted so many lives,” says Mindy Sangha, her close friend and executor of her will. “That’s what Sheron really wanted – to help people.”

Mindy and Sheron began their friendship in 1969, when Mindy worked at a Victoria nightclub and Sheron would come in to watch a friend play piano. A few years later, when they both settled in the Lower Mainland, Mindy says Sheron, her husband and parents “took me in like part of the family.”

“Sheron was kind, generous, loved to cook and have dinner parties, loved animals, travel and decorating – she made everything cozy and homey. She was also a prize-winning accordionist,” says Mindy. “And she was an avid reader. She had at least 10 shelves of books in her basement, plus a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling collection of cookbooks in the den. She specifically requested that her book collection be donated.”

Over the years, Sheron worked in restaurants, but immune issues made consistent employment difficult. Whenever she felt well, she volunteered, most recently at Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock.

Sheron died at the age of 75. Her estate, resulting from the sale of her Cloverdale home, became a substantial contribution for four non-profits she deeply cared about.

Decoda Literacy was one of the grateful recipients, receiving a six-figure legacy gift.

“Sheron was always learning. She knew lots about lots of things in life,” says Mindy. “She knew people who couldn’t read, and her parents emigrated from Sweden, so literacy was important to her.”

Sheron’s gift will be used to support Fostering Literacy programs in 23 communities across BC. The program benefits children (primarily, those in foster care) who struggle with reading. The children receive one-to-one reading sessions with a trained tutor.

“Sheron’s profound understanding of the importance of literacy will leave a lasting, positive imprint on the lives of children. Her legacy gift stands as the most substantial contribution we have ever received from an individual, marking a significant milestone,” says Gail Hanney, Director, Fund Development.

To make a lasting impact like Sheron, consider leaving a gift in your will to Decoda. For more information, contact Gail Hanney, Director, Fund Development at ghanney@decoda.ca.

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