Gilmore Family Fund for Youth
To honor the memory of family members who in their lives were dedicated to improving the lives of youth, sisters Nelda Gilmore and Norma Brien and sister-in-law Phyllis Gilmore created the Gilmore Family Fund for Youth in 2007. This fund will support projects, programs and events that benefit the youth of Isabella County.
Maynard Gilmore was born and raised in Chippewa Township on his family’s farm. While attending Shepherd High School, Maynard was a baseball Class C State Champion. After graduating in 1917, he enlisted in the Student Army Training Corps at County Normal School. When his father became ill, Maynard returned home to help manage the family farm. In 1920, Maynard met and married Nellie Imhoff, and with her had four children: Norris, Norma, Oliver “Bud,” and Nelda. Family and extended family were always important to Maynard and Nellie.
Along with the farm, Maynard found a way to combine his interest in youth and his passion for politics. From 1925-36, Maynard was the treasurer for Chippewa Township, figuring taxes separately for each of the nine school districts. He served as Chippewa Township Advisor from 1936-48. Also, he was the County Clerk for 24 years before retiring in 1973. In 1960, he became President of the County Clerks Association for the State of Michigan and served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Isabella Youth and Farm Fair Society (1951-70). Maynard died in 1981 after years of dedication and service to the Mount Pleasant area.
Like his dad, Oliver “Bud” Gilmore was a farmer all his life and always had an interest in Shepherd youth. After graduating from Shepherd High School, he attended Michigan State University to study agriculture. Later, he became the President of the Farm Bureau group and worked for the Road Commission for 17 years. Since then, his son, Jim, has continued farming the land. Bud, along with his wife, Phyllis, and their children, Debbie, Jim, and twins, Kimberly and Kelly, were all very musical. Their family was also very active at the Countryside United Methodist Church which they helped to remodel. Bud died in 2003.
Bud’s daughter, Debbie Gilmore, was an intelligent woman who loved children. At the age of 11, she underwent major surgery to remove a brain tumor. Despite the struggles with her health, Debbie always loved music and attending church. Children and the Lord were always an important part of Debbie’s life. After battling health issues throughout her life, Debbie died in 2006.
Inspired by their family's passion to help youth of Isabella County excel and succeed, Nelda, Norma and Phyllis decided to start the Gilmore Family Fund for Youth. This fund supports projects and events that will provide safe and fun environments for kids around the community. “We want to fund things that give all youth activities. Whether it’s after-school, playscape, museum, etc., youth need a positive place to be,” said Phyllis.