Donor Spotlight: Wilma Jo Kile

The importance of education has been a foundation of RCCF donor, Wilma Jo Kile’s life. Growing up in in Rush County’s southeast corner, she recalls, “It wasn’t ‘if’ but ‘when’, my brother and I would go to college.”


This expectation has benefitted her and our community so well.


Her father, Ebert Schroeder, had just an eighth grade education but was “very sharp” in math, remembers Wilma Jo. He had a gift for being able to calculate the capacity of grain elevators. Her mother, Bessie, attended Central Normal College, earning a teaching degree, but never taught in Rush County. As a married woman during the Depression, she wouldn’t have been hired.


She and her brother both graduated college, a source of pride for their parents. Her brother eventually taught at Connersville High School and Ball State. “I had two options for schooling – nursing or teaching, and I knew I couldn’t be a nurse,” laughed Wilma Jo.


After graduating from Hanover College, she began a long history of service to the families of Rush County through her career and her volunteer work. She was a teacher, principal of Mays Elementary, Title I Director and eventually assistant superintendent of Rush County Schools. She served on various boards including the Parks Department, the Rushville Library and also RCCF.


Wilma Jo has had a profound influence on her students, including another former RCCF board member Dr. Suellen (Reed) Goddard, who went on to serve 16 years as the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Indiana.


Wilma Jo was one of my mentors. My going to Hanover, becoming an ΑΘπ, becoming a teacher were all do to her influence. Because of our relationship, when I was Superintendent at Rushville, I persuaded her to take on the principalship at Mays. She was a star in administration as well as, as a teacher,” Suellen remembered.


Wilma Jo recalled fondly the day that Suellen and another former student, Indianapolis Mayor, Joe Hogsett, took her to lunch on Teacher Appreciation Day. Quite a legacy indeed.


Her love for the children of Rush County has motivated her to make a financial impact, too. “My career provided me a wide lens from which to view the community’s needs. From an educational standpoint, I can think of nothing else that would provide the value-added amenities that a multipurpose community center would provide to the residents of Rush County.”


To support her community forever, Wilma Jo has established the Ebert H. and Bessie M. Schroeder Fund at RCCF, in memory of her parents to support the new community center.


They were dedicated to the community. They attended the United Methodist Church in New Salem and were active Masonic members. Whenever there was a need, they helped out. They were just good people,” recalls Wilma Jo. “My parents always wanted to do what was right, and I want to honor that feeling.”


Although I am formally a resident of Indianapolis now, Rush County will always be my home,” she shared.

We’re grateful for Wilma Jo’s commitment to help fulfill RCCF’s mission to enrich and enhance the quality of life in Rush County, not only today, but for generations to come. It is the generosity of her and all RCCF donors that creates and sustains the legacy of creating a vibrant community and caring for the people, places and organizations that make Rush County the place we love to live, work and play.


To support the Ebert H. and Bessie M. Schroeder Fund and the new community center, you can make a gift online or mail a check to RCCF, 117 N. Main St., Rushville, IN 46173. We thank you for your kindness.

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