In the 1950’s at the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Elementary School in Seneca Falls, NY, both Kathie and Guy had small bank savings accounts they managed and spoke about during class every week. Both remember pulling out their loose change to make their weekly bank deposits. That small act of saving money began a tradition of thoughtful financial practices.
Although they attended elementary and junior high schools together, Kathie and Guy didn’t cross paths until they sat side-by-side in high school French class. In 1963 they attended the Student Council dance together and the rest was history. Guy remembered, “We just started dating and never quit!”
The couple later married in 1968 after Guy graduated from Cornell University Engineering, and lived in Ithaca, NY while Guy attended graduate school. During that same time, Guy and Kathie adopted their first pet, Squeegee, a cat from the SPCA. Squeegee was the first of many animals to come through their home as their love for animals flourished over time.
Once Guy received his Masters, the pair was ready for their next chapter. Guy went to work for a large steel fabrication company and they moved around to Greenville PA, Chicago, Baltimore, Oswego and Brooklyn. It didn’t take long for them to tire of this nomadic lifestyle.
“We decided that we didn’t like moving frequently and we also don’t like cities,” said Guy. “That’s when we made the decision. I should look for a different opportunity. I spoke with one of my college professors and he just happened to know of an opening at an architectural and engineering company in Auburn.”
Guy soon began in 1972 his long-term position with Beardsley Architects + Engineers and the couple moved to a small house south of Auburn where they began their more stationary life on seven acres of land. Gradually they grew their home and property, always with equity they had saved. Guy eventually retired after 45 years and being President of the firm.
Over the years, the Central New York community has become an important part of their lives and they have supported a variety of local causes that hold importance to them. More recently, the couple’s financial advisors helped them realize that while they enjoy giving major gifts to the community now, they can also leave a lasting impact through a legacy fund after they pass away. The Roy, Kathie and Guy Garnsey Fund was created to allow them to continue supporting wildlife, the environment, animal shelters, libraries, small museums and volunteer organizations in Central New York, year after year.
The Garnseys love their Central New York home and lifestyle. Their fund will supply resources to the broader community based on the greatest needs at the time with a preference for supporting organizations within Cayuga County. “It’s home. How can you not want to be here?” Kathie asked. “It’s a beautiful area with all the lakes, waterfalls, fields, trees, and forests you could ever want. It’s just nice.”
Guy and Kathie’s son, Roy, was born in 1980. He was diagnosed with leukemia and passed away just before he turned 13 years old. Roy’s memory still shapes the pair’s giving, their lives and their choices.
“Our legacy fund is a way for us to give back to the community we love, while also serving as a way to keep our son’s memory alive in perpetuity,” said Guy.
Guy retired in 2015, but the pair consider themselves anything but. Between their horses and other pets, regular 18-mile bike rides on the Erie Canal pathway and volunteering at the Howland Stone Store Museum, they don’t have much idle. Guy remarked, “You know, many people said that they couldn’t believe how busy they were after they retired which is true for us as well. I think that’s one of our goals—to stay active and involved. So far we’re doing pretty well with that!”
Guy has served on The Seward House board and is currently on the board at Southern Cayuga Instant Aid ambulance as well as The Howland Stone Store Museum. The Howlands, who were Quakers, built the tiny cobblestone store in 1837. Now, the museum is dedicated to the Women’s Suffrage and Underground Railroad movements. It houses many original 19th Amendment campaign posters from the early 1900s.
While Kathie spends much of her time with her horses; Guy is volunteering on the rehabilitation of the historic Opendore building the Museum acquired, as well as serving as President. “It’s just a very small organization, but with big dreams!” stated Guy. “We enjoy making an impact on the community now and feel comforted knowing our wishes will be stewarded when we’re gone.”
For more information on legacy funds, click here.