Gift of $50,000 to Fairfield schools made to honor wife of more than 60 years

Ernie Sailor, 90, wanted to honor the memory of his late wife Maxine by establishing a scholarship fund for Fairfield students. The couple was married for more than 60 years.

Posted on April 10, 2014 at 5:41 p.m.

It's still hard for Ernie Sailor to talk about his wife, Maxine, who died in 2011

The 90-year-old Elkhart man fought emotion recently when he explained why he donated $50,000 to Fairfield High School in his wife's memory. 

"I just wanted to do something to remember her by," he said.

Sailor's late wife graduated from Millersburg High School in 1942 — before the school merged with New Paris High School and became Fairfield.

The couple met at work and married in 1950. They enjoyed traveling together, Sailor said, and would often go on trips without a specific destination in mind.

"We'd back out of the driveway and didn't know where we were going," he remembered. 

His gift will make it possible for one Fairfield senior each year to receive a $2,000 scholarship. Sailor wants the scholarships to go not only to kids who attend four-year schools, but also to those entering a trade or vocational school.

"I noticed the industries are starting to hire more out of the technical colleges than the big ones," Sailor said. "And I thought, (those students) need help too."

According to Sailor's financial adviser, Matt Szynal of Edward Jones, the scholarship fund created by Sailor's gift will be available for generations of Fairfield students "as long as possible," Szynal said. 

"Mr. Sailor's gift demonstrates the depth of support that runs through the Fairfield Schools family," Fairfield Superintendent Steve Thalheimer said. "His goal of paying forward is appreciated by the school administration and school board, and it will pay dividends for graduates for years to come."


Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks

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