A Foundation for Giving

January 14, 2016 – by Ohio Wesleyan University

Scholarship recipients Troy Decker ’15, Dalia Lorenzo ’17, and Jerry Lherisson ’16, celebrated Harry Humes’ 98th birthday with a visit in August 2015.

Lifelong Delaware resident and civic leader Harry A. Humes built more than a successful business as a vice president of the city’s Hughes-Keenan Corporation. Together with his wife, Mary Jo, he made lifelong charitable giving a part of their lives, a deed that has significantly benefited OWU students and the Delaware community.

In February 2015 the couple created the Mary Jo and Harry A. Humes Endowed Scholarship, a fund for Ohio Wesleyan from an asset distribution of the Hughes-Keenan Foundation. The scholarship provides assistance to deserving students.

Harry Humes, who passed away October 7, 2015, at age 98, was a large part of the OWU family and the city of Delaware. He attended Ohio Wesleyan, where he met Mary Jo, also a student at the time. Humes was instrumental in creating the foundation, which supported more than 20 Delaware organizations, including OWU, where he spearheaded several fundraising drives for capital improvements. One project laid the groundwork for the construction of Beeghly Library.

“My parents have always felt that education was key,” says eldest son, Larry Humes. Both of them  came from backgrounds of modest means, he says, but “they worked hard to get what they had.”

“Dad used to say, ‘You give back to the community that gave so much to you.’”

Over the years, the elder Humes served on a number of boards, including the Delaware County School Board, the Delaware County Boy Scouts, the local Red Cross, and as a founding member of the Delaware City Charter Foundation, to name a few. Humes would meet with business associates at Bun’s Restaurant on Winter Street, where they would form committees to discuss an array of necessary projects—from student scholarships to a local pedestrian walkway.

“A lot happened at that table,” says Larry, who noted that his father also preferred to give anonymously.

Humes recalls a time when his father paid for a young student’s tuition when he learned she wanted to continue with college but couldn’t afford it. “Dad went to her college and said he’d pay for her tuition,” he says. The elder Humes and Mary Jo kept this deed and other gift giving anonymous, satisfied to have helped someone obtain an education.

In August 2015, the senior Humes and his wife celebrated his 98th birthday at Willow Brook Christian Village. What touched him most, Larry says, was that several scholarship students visited—Dalia Lorenzo ’17, an elementary education major; Jerry Lherisson ’16, a politics and government major and president of the Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs; and recent graduate Troy Decker ’15, a recipient of the Russell Humes Scholarship, named after Harry Humes’ father.

See the Winter 2016 OWU Magazine issue’s Class Notes page for more about Harry Humes’ life.