McFaddens Give Back to OWU Through a Charitable Gift Annuity

Martha and Bill McFadden

When Marty Phelps was applying to college, she was inspired by her pastor, Edgar N. Jackson (OWU '32). Marty thought Rev. Jackson had a wonderful job. Every time she called him for advice, he was working in his home office, and available to talk with her. Marty thought if she married a minister, she would have a husband who worked at home and was always available. She sought a good Methodist school, and wound up at Rev. Jackson's alma mater, Ohio Wesleyan University.

In her freshman year, she met a young religion major named Bill McFadden, and the rest, as they say, is history. Not exactly the history Marty thought she was writing, but history.

Bill did become a minister, receiving a Master of Divinity degree from Drew University in 1961. He spent the next 27 years in the Methodist pastorate at various churches around Ohio, but that 'home office' was a reality for only the first three years. Bill and Marty quickly learned that the life of a pastor required many long hours away from home, but both loved their vocations and their life. During this time, they raised two daughters, Laura McFadden Sangree (Wooster '84) and Sarah McFadden Fornara (OWU '89). Bill received his Doctor of Ministry degree from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio in 1979. In 1989, Bill accepted a position as Associate Administrator for Development at the Elyria United Methodist Home in Elyria, Ohio. Marty's part-time "temporary" position in the EUMH development office ended after 17 years. In 1996, Peter Kleist (OWU '40) convinced Bill to become the Executive Director of the Peter D. and Eleanore A. Kleist Foundation, a job that afforded Bill and Marty the opportunity to enjoy many new and different experiences.

Bill and Marty have traveled extensively, including 30 trips out of the country, many of them as tour leaders. They have fallen in love with Zimbabwe, which they first visited when their daughter Laura and her husband were serving in the Peace Corps in Malawi. They are very involved with and actively support Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe, a college dedicated to improving the quality of life, peace and prosperity for the peoples of Africa.

Throughout their busy and interesting lives, their loyalty to Ohio Wesleyan has never wavered. They have continued to give back to their alma mater, and have most recently done so by establishing a charitable gift annuity in honor of their 50th reunion. Their gift will ultimately be used to establish an endowed fund to benefit the Annual Fund in perpetuity.

The McFaddens may not have had the "home office" life Marty envisioned, but they have been greatly blessed, and are very appreciative of the institution that gave them each other and set them on their way. "You can never pay back all that life has given you," says Bill, "but we do what we can. OWU gave me my wife as well as an academic background that allowed me to pursue my goals and dreams. My time there led to a very fulfilling and satisfying life. I am grateful to be able to give something back to Ohio Wesleyan."

While still active with both Ohio Wesleyan and Africa University, and traveling as much as possible, Bill and Marty now live in Wesleyan Meadows in Sheffield Lake, Ohio, a retirement community Bill helped get off the ground when he was working for the Elyria United Methodist Home. Asked what she likes best about their new home, Marty doesn't hesitate. "The home office," she says with a contented smile.

Contact Info


University Advancement Office
Mowry Alumni Center
61 S. Sandusky Street
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3078
F 740-368-3328


Jenny Batchelder, JD
Director of Gift Planning
P  740-368-3043
F  740-368-3328