Sunlight streaming through a forest.

May 31, 2017

A Family Legacy of Giving

Jack Gearhart

Jack in his favorite place–the forest.

Linda Gearhart first learned about the Delaware Highlands Conservancy while managing her brother Jack’s estate. Jack had been a dedicated volunteer for the Conservancy and a member of our Land Protection Committee since 2007, where his insight as a forester provided valuable guidance in many of the Conservancy’s complex land protection projects. He was also a member of the Conservancy since 2003, giving not just his time, but investing his financial support in the mission as well.

Jack wanted to leave his legacy with the Conservancy and with the Boy Scouts, where he also volunteered by helping to plant hundreds of trees. After he passed away in January of 2015, Linda came to meet with our staff where she learned more about our work.

“In reading through all the materials, and talking with the staff, I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, I didn’t realize they did things like this! I wish I had more land!’” Jack had largely kept quiet about his volunteer work over the years, as was his nature, Linda explains: “He just quietly did whatever needed to be done. He was very passionate about conservation, and the natural world. He cared little for what was going on inside.”

Linda soon decided to plan for her own bequest to the Conservancy. “I was taken by the work that he did for you,” she explains. “He offered what he had—what he knew about, what he was good at. I can’t do what he did, but I can pass along money in my will.”

Linda Gearhart with a memorial plaque for her brother, Jack.

Linda Gearhart with a memorial plaque for her brother, Jack.

As an educator—Linda is a retired 5th grade Social Studies teacher—the educational aspect of the Conservancy’s work is very important to her as well. She hopes that more young people will begin to see the importance of protecting our natural world.

Conservancy staff best remembers Jack sitting at the conference table, #2 pencil in hand, reviewing detailed policies and documents line by line—or, of course, walking the land with a landowner, discussing their options for protecting and caring for it for future generations. We’re honored to continue Jack’s legacy, and the legacy of all of those who make a planned gift to the Conservancy.

With their generous gifts, Linda and Jack Gearhart have both become Legacy Leaders—a special group of people who have included the Conservancy in their will or estate plans, or have helped a parent, partner or loved one leave a legacy. We hope you will consider joining them to help ensure that we can carry out our mission into the future.

If you would like to learn more, or if you have already considered us in your estate plans, please contact us at or 570-226-3164 so we may thank you during your lifetime. Learn more about your planned giving options.