FRIENDS OF THE HOMER LIBRARY


Our mission is to provide support for the Homer Public Library programs and services,

to raise funds that enrich the library experience, and to promote the use and enjoyment of the library.


Libraries Are For Everyone. Libraries Are Forever.

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In addition to our memberships, we rely on donations to help provide the library with necessary resources and materials that would otherwise exceed its budget. For example, you can donate money towards the purchase of books, or you can donate money to be used for our ever popular youth programs.

Donations help us be flexible and able to readily respond to the ever-changing information and programming needs of our community. When you make a donation to the Friends of the Homer Library, you are making an investment in your local library and in building a community dedicated to lifelong learning. 

Thank you so much for your support.

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Roy “Skip” Utter Bookmobile Donation

Suzanne Haines

We were deeply saddened when our part-time next door neighbor Roy “Skip” Utter passed away in 2015. His plan was to spend that summer at his beloved East Hill home, but his health suddenly declined before he could return from his winter home in the California desert. We didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. His homestead here was unsettled, and his house and property were just as he had left it the summer before.

 

 Fortunately, he had a family member who was willing to sort out his affairs. She knew how much Skip and his late wife, Helen, had loved Homer. She considered Skip and Helen’s appreciation of reading, and the many boxes of books they had donated to the library over the years. Donating to Friends of Homer Library in Skip’s name was a perfect fit.

 

 The financial gift from Skip’s estate is earmarked for adult-level reading materials for the Friends bookmobile. Brightly painted with artwork of sea creatures and land animals reading books, created by Homer artist Rachel Tussey, the bookmobile is bordered on the bottom by large books on a “bookshelf” with spines printed with donor names on them. We were proud to add Skip Utter’s name on one of those spines. Each time we see it, we think of him and smile.

 

Skip’s life was one of adventure and achievement in aviation, and as a gentle, generous person, friend, and neighbor. He fell in love with flying as a teenager when offered a ride in a biplane. Later, as a commissioned Army officer in World War II, Skip flew P-51 Mustangs and other aircraft, working his way toward a lifelong aviation career.

 

 In 1946 Skip and fellow Army buddy, Gene Effler, arrived in Alaska, flying in and out of Homer, landing on mudflats which are now the Homer Airport. They hiked up East Hill, staking homesites where they built their homes. Through many years of flying a variety of aircraft, Skip retired as a captain for Delta Airlines. He had logged more than 35,000 flight hours. We knew he was an airline pilot, but we didn’t know of all his flying tales and legendary landings in bush Alaska.

 

 Skip would be so pleased to continue sharing books of flight and adventure in a place that he loved. If you, a loved one, or friend would like more information about a lasting legacy for the Homer Public Library through the Friends of Homer Library, please contact Joy Steward, FHL board member at (907) 299-9902 or joysteward579@gmail.com

DONOR STORIES


My brother Jack and I, June 2017  

Judy Gonsalves

My donor story begins with, sadly, an ending. I lost my older brother Jack, on Dec 23, 2019. We were seven siblings; all relatively close in age, growing up on large ranches out in the country.  We had plenty of chores; yet we managed to find a good amount of fun and maybe even a little bit of mischief during those endlessly long, warm, golden California days of our childhood. Even as we went our separate directions as adults, our large family gatherings continue to be reliably full of life with laughter, food, drink, often dancing, and much reminiscing.

Jack endeavored to keep his cancer diagnosis private, primarily because he thought he would get better. During his life and then 18-month battle, my logical, detailed-oriented, highly analytical civil engineer brother had done much and traveled afar, but in the end he had not settled his estate. In his waning days he was just barely able to initial a Power of Attorney document to another sibling. No judgment here, just a very sad observance.  

After returning to Homer that January, and processing my loss of a sibling, and life in general, I turned to my husband and said, “We need to get our affairs in order.” Our last will was 20+ years old and terribly outdated. Our children were now adults, I had retired, and our assets had changed. So, we set up our ‘virtual’ meetings with our lawyer. When part of the estate planning included an option for planned giving to a nonprofit of my choice, it was almost like an epiphany.  I knew what to do.

I didn’t have to think twice about which nonprofit I would name. I’ve always loved public libraries.  I love their book smells, their depth and their opportunity. I enjoy my time and work with the Friends of the Homer Public Library as a board member, and, well, It. Just. Fits. Jack also loved libraries. He was a voracious reader and a critical thinker and we could disagree just as easily as we could agree when we discussed books. I can still hear him say, during our ‘discussions,’ “Judy, you’re not being logical.”

Losing a sibling for the first time is undeniably hard. The gap in our sibling line-up photos still makes me wince. However, I can now consider our recent estate planning as a gift to us as well as to our children. As importantly, I view this planned gift to the Friends of the Homer Public Library as an indirect and poignant gift from Jack. Life is temporary. A legacy to libraries is forever. In hindsight, Jack would agree this was a ‘logical’ thing for me to do. So, please have foresight, and consider planned giving in your estate, to whatever pokes your heart. I do hope it’s the Friends of the Homer Public Library. 

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FRIENDS OF THE HOMER PUBLIC LIBRARY

Friends of the Homer Library is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 community organization.

907-435-3195

info@friendshomerlibrary.org

500 Hazel Avenue • Homer AK  99603
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