Donor Story: The Deep Roots of the Liggett Family

In the yard of the Liggett Family’s farm stands an impressive maple tree. Its thick trunk separates into many branches, growing both tall and wide. No doubt its roots run deep, too, just as the Liggetts’ do in the Rush County community. It’s here, at Windmill Farm, where Marion and Lois Liggett built a life raising their three children, serving their community, and spending 64 years together. With a recent gift to the Rush County Community Foundation (RCCF), Lois has honored their ties forever by establishing the Marion & Lois Liggett and Family Educational Scholarship Fund.


When Marion was six years old, his family moved to the rich, fertile land of Rush County from a farm along the Ohio River that frequently flooded. He fell in love with the land and with a local girl, Lois Fancher. After marrying in 1947, they moved to their farm in Jackson Township, where she still resides.


Their three children–Ann, Sarah, and David–grew up strong, supported by faith, good humor, and unconditional love. Lois and Marion nurtured their children’s robust roots while encouraging them to follow their passions and use their gifts.


Always generous with their time and talents, Marion and Lois tended as carefully to their community as they did to their children and the land. After high school Lois worked in the Farm Bureau office until their daughter Ann was born. Both Lois and Marion served as long-time 4-H leaders and Lois was a member of the 4-H Council and the County Extension Board. She also held several leadership positions in the Jackson Township Home Ec club. At Hannegan Christian Church, Lois taught Sunday school and was active in the Ladies Aid, while Marion served as a Sunday school teacher and an elder. Lois now enjoys time with her PEO sisters.


Marion was the long-time Chief of the Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Department. Whether it was responding to an emergency or simply assisting a motorist with a flat tire or stuck in the snow, he was always eager to help. He enjoyed annual trips to the Mountain Mission School in Grundy, Virginia, to deliver clothing, shoes, and even grain. He was a 32° Mason in Phoenix Masonic Lodge #62, an active volunteer with the Rush Co. Historical Society, and a founder and director of the Pioneer Engineers Club.


Marion and Lois were the Liggett siblings’ first teachers. On the farm, David worked alongside his dad, who instilled a strong work ethic and shared many hands-on skills. While completing 4-H projects together, Lois taught her girls that “if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right.” The siblings have fond memories of childhood vacations following the Lincoln Trail to Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. “The culmination was peering up at Lincoln’s statue in his memorial in DC. Education can take many forms,” reflected Sarah.


Ann, Sarah, and David scattered across the country, much like the seeds that fall from their maple tree each spring. Ann taught elementary school classes in West Virginia. Sarah taught junior high students at Connersville and later college students at Louisiana State University for 30 years. David worked as an equine veterinarian and then taught science in California. Education is important to the Liggett family. As Sarah said, “Education has been more than a vocation. Our love for teaching stems from an appreciation for learning and the ways knowledge shapes one’s character and creates opportunities.”


Marion’s and Lois’s emphasis on postsecondary education for their own children carried through to the next generation. All nine of their grandchildren have college degrees and successful careers.


Lois sold some of the farmland in 2022. The extra income created an opportunity to do more good work. Together, the family decided to honor their values by creating a scholarship at RCCF–the Marion & Lois Liggett and Family Educational Scholarship Fund. The award will benefit a Rush County student studying veterinary medicine or education at Purdue University. “It was the natural choice,” explained Sarah. “My parents continued learning through Purdue Extension courses. And Purdue is the alma mater of all three of us.” Ann graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, David earned degrees in Agriculture/Animal Science and Veterinarian Medicine, and Sarah received a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in English and Education. “Hail, hail to old Purdue,” she smiled.


The tax advantages were an incentive, but “The true motivation for creating a scholarship is to benefit young adults striving toward a college education and degree,” Sarah continued. “My father once told me, ‘I won’t be able to leave you an inheritance, but I’ll pay for your college so you can take care of yourself.’ By establishing the Marion & Lois Liggett and Family Educational Scholarship Fund, our parents’ hard work will continue to help Rush County youth afford college tuition.”


While Lois has lived in Jackson Township all her life, her children, grandchildren, and 16 great grandchildren are scattered from California to Ireland. Ann credits the freedom her parents gave her and her siblings with creating such a diverse family.


Although Marion passed in 2012, his love for the Pioneer Engineers lives on through his family. Each August more than 30 family members return to Windmill Farm for the steam engine show. “The annual picnic/talent show at the farm is a highlight of the year for the entire family. The grandson who lives in Ireland joked recently that if any of his kids ever ran away from home, the first place he’d look would be at the farm,” laughed David. “Rush County is home,” added Ann.


An impressive maple tree in the Liggett's yard.The roots of the Liggett family extend deep into the earth and the fabric of Rush County, through the care of Marion and Lois. “Both have been good stewards of the land and community supporters,” said David. “Their intent was always to leave things better than they found them.”


Through their love, their family, and now their scholarship, the Liggetts have created a legacy that will continue to grow and enrich lives for generations to come. Just like their tree.


If honoring your values by providing for your community appeals to you, we can help you design a legacy to support Rush County forever. Get in touch with us at (765) 938-1177 or Or stop by our office at 117 N. Main Street in Rushville. We’d love to hear more about your dreams and learn how we can support you.

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