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Lakesider News

Cappers leave endowment for favorite Lakeside programs

By Kevin Greer
Lakeside Communications Manager

Amy Wingerter and Jenny Shelton are lifetime Lakesiders. The siblings always looked forward to their one-week visits with their parents, John and Helen Capper. John was a minister for East Ohio Conference (EOC) of The United Methodist Church, so the entire family made the trip when the group used to meet annually in Lakeside. The week was a mini family reunion since John was related to several members of the conference.

The EOC no longer has its yearly meeting in Lakeside, but the Cappers’ summer visits continue, sometimes adding a second week. The family has grown over the years, but they have stayed in a cottage owned by John’s cousin since 1975. Amy married Brian Wingerter and have a daughter who is a student at the University of Akron. Jenny is married to Bryan Shelton and have an 18-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son.

Amy and Jenny currently reside in the Columbus area. Like most preacher’s families, they moved around a few times over the years, but spent most of their time living in the Akron area. John was a pastor at several Methodist churches in Northeast Ohio, including Salem, Mount Vernon, Greensburg, Richmond, Akron, Bunker Hill and Brentwood.

One place that always remained constant for the Cappers is Lakeside. It’s a place that meant a lot to John and Helen, especially to be with the family. John used his relatives as a reason to sneak off from the conference.

“They felt Lakeside was family time, especially once the grandkids came along,” Amy said. “After dad retired, he would sit down with the retirees and when they got to something in the program he didn’t want to do, he would say ‘I think I hear my grandchildren calling,’ and he’d get up and leave.”

Jenny added, “The porch was a favorite place especially of my mom. She really loved just sitting and watching and being, especially during conference because it was a good place to visit with people. They saw people they knew they would see every summer at annual conference.”

Helen played a big role while John was in college. She helped get him through Mount Union and Methodist Theological School in Ohio by working in places like the school library. Once John became a pastor, Helen wasn’t what some would consider a typical pastor’s wife, but always put family first.

“She didn’t teach Sunday school or work in the office,” Amy said. “But she was very supportive, and life would not have flowed as well as it did without her.”

When John retired, he and Helen enjoyed spending time in Lakeside with their grandchildren. They would go for rides on the golf cart and play mini golf and shuffleboard.

However, Helen started to suffer from autoimmune issues and John was diagnosed with a brain tumor. They died a week apart in May 2022. There was a joint service for the beloved couple who had been married for 64 years. A few hours later, the family was in Lakeside.

“As hard as it was, I look back on it now as really being a good thing, because we were still all together,” Amy said. “I think if we went back to our own homes, that would have been a little more difficult. It’s still hard to go in the cottage and know that they’re not there. It’s very different, but it’s still family time.”

Lakeside meant so much to John and Helen that they left an endowment. Amy and Jenny are using the gift to support some of their parents’ favorite Lakeside programs. One is for traditional worship music and the other is for church camp housing.

“They liked traditional music for church services, not rock music,” Jenny said. “Dad was really involved in church camp as a counselor and believed in the value of church camp. Amy and I have stayed at camps in Lakeside, and having functional housing is really important to maintain those programs.”

While Amy and Jenny don’t live that far from each other, they always look forward to their trips to Lakeside with something that meant so much to their parents: family.

“I think everything kind of stops when you’re there,” Jenny said. “The sense of relaxation is like no other. I do all the cooking when we’re there, but it doesn’t feel like when I cook dinner at home. There’s something different about it. We get through multiple books during the week sitting on the porch.”

Amy added, “Several years ago Jenny and I started walking the perimeter of Lakeside at 7 a.m. That’s just kind of our time away from everybody else. But then we could ride bikes or the golf cart. The kids loved that when they were little, but it also became important for when my mom couldn’t walk around as much. We like just spending time sitting down looking at the lake.”

Many families, like Amy and Jenny’s parents, have planned a gift to Lakeside growing the endowment to more than $10 million. The spending rule for the endowment to benefit Lakeside’s operating budget is 4 percent of a 12-quarter trailing average of the fund. This provides more than $380,000 a year for the operational budget. You can join the many families in planning a significant gift by visiting the Lakeside Legacy Gift website and learning more about taking the first step.


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