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Lebanon Valley College Announces Estate Gift in Excess of $1 Million
01.24.14 |

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Dr. Lewis E. Thayne, president of Lebanon Valley College, announced that the College recently received a gift in excess of $1 million from the estate of Howard F. Lebegern '49 and his wife of 59 years, Margaret Neal Lebegern.

"Howard and Margaret Lebegern's generous gift to the College came with no restrictions on its use. This is extraordinary philanthropy. It speaks to the Lebegern's personal character and their lifelong support of the mission and values of the institution. We are so grateful to them for their devotion to the College and their confidence in our future," Dr. Thayne said in making the announcement. The Lebegerns were members since 2000 of The Thomas Rhys Vickroy Society, the College's highest philanthropic society. They provided financial support to LVC students and faculty throughout their lives.

Howard Lebegern died in 2009 in Cape Coral, Fla. He was the son of Howard and Myrtle Lebegern of Lancaster. After graduating from J.P. McCaskey High School, Howard enrolled at Lebanon Valley College and was a member of the tennis and track teams. He served in the U.S. Navy in 1945–1946, later earning his B.S. in business administration as a member of the Class of 1949. Beginning his professional career as an accountant with RCA (later GE) in 1949, Howard enjoyed a 37-year career with the company. He worked as an administrator and manager in financial controls, general accounting, and electronics manufacturing before retiring in 1986.

Howard was active in local and Pennsylvania state politics. He served in several roles with the Republican party, including committeeman, and on the Industrial Authority of Hempfield Township in Lancaster County. He actively participated in the programs and councils of the Otterbein United Methodist Church and held memberships in the Lancaster County Historical Society, Conestoga Country Club, and American Legion #664.

In addition to his passion for Flying Dutchmen athletics, Howard retained lifelong connections to several LVC classmates, many of them football players, including Dr. George "Rinso" Marquette '48, Alfred "Fritz" Delduco '48, Robert Hess '49, Marsh Gemberling '49, and Glenn Hall '49. According to Hall, the football friendships were established during the long bus rides that the tennis team used to take traveling with the football team. In those days, football and tennis played the same opponent to facilitate travel. Hall recalled that "Howard and Peg did everything together. When you talked about them it was Howard and Peg; that's the way they went through life." Hall fondly recalled visiting them in Florida. "First thing every morning Howard would get up and check on the LVC athletic scores from the previous night. It didn't matter what sport."

Howard served on an LVC Athletic Reunion Committee and regularly participated in College golf tournaments to support athletics. According to a class note submitted by Peg, "Howard cheered wholeheartedly all of his adult life for LVC sports teams and activities."

Howard and Peg were active members of the Otterbein United Methodist Church in Lancaster where they spent their summers after retirement. They spent the majority of the year at their home in Cape Coral, Fla., where they were active golfers and involved in the local German-American club. According to Hall, "They were proud of their German heritage... Howard reconnected with family in Germany after World War II and stayed in touch through the decades, even visiting them in Germany just before he died."

Peg died on March 25, 2013, in Cape Coral, Fla., two days after her 84th birthday. The daughter of Theodore and Margaret Neal, she graduated from Manheim Township High School and worked at Armstrong World Industries for 40 years. After being promoted to assistant manager of International Operations in the 1970s, Peg became Armstrong's first female department manager. Her duties took her to Armstrong plants around the United States.

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