UMCOR / News Room / News & Features / Archives 2006 / 20060821

Heart for Children Lives On in Bequest to UMCOR

NEW YORK, NY, August 21, 2006—The white sheet of paper read out to the members of the California Nevada Annual Conference in June was hand-inscribed with colored markers: “For UMCOR, $500,000 for direct relief work helping people in need around the world.” A red heart punctuated the statement.

The bequest came from the estate of Estelle D. Wyman, who died this year in Redwood City, Calif. A lifelong United Methodist, she was 94. Her nephew, Eric Dale, executor of her estate and California business owner, read the bequest into the conference record.

UMCOR, or the United Methodist Committee on Relief, is the church’s international humanitarian aid organization, serving in 81 countries.

A graduate of Jamestown College in North Dakota, Ms. Wyman had a heart for impoverished and neglected children. She served as a child abuse prevention worker in a 40-year professional career. She herself lived in 14 foster homes while growing up, according to Mr. Dale.

A second bequest from Ms. Wyman’s estate went to the annual conference, to establish the Estelle D. Wyman Memorial Child Fund. Churches in the conference will be eligible to apply for funds, said Bishop Beverly J. Shimana.

Accepting the bequest for UMCOR was Paul Dirdak, director of the agency. “Ms. Wyman’s gift humbles us because she trusted in UMCOR,” he told the conference.

UMCOR has served vulnerable children, women and men since 1940. Programs include long-term recovery from natural disasters like the 2005 hurricanes in the US, as well as child protection, restoration of livelihoods and rebuilding of homes, health clinics and schools.