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Every now and then I have the opportunity to introduce you to a couple who make a difference in London. Recently I sat down to interview Lucille and Norton Wolf in their home.

They are just ordinary people who in their own way want to leave a legacy for future generations in the Forest City. Norton was born/educated in London, son of David, who was the proprietor of Artistic Ladies Ware . His father loved life and enjoyed giving to worthy causes. He believed in the philosophy that: "you can’t take it with you; not wanting to be the richest man in the cemetery."

Norton learned at an early age from his dad and uncle Bernard that philanthropy was an integral part of family life. Bernard passed away and in 1983 the Bernard & Norton Wolf family foundation was formed. The family contributes 3 ˝% of the fund in perpetuity on an annual basis to the community. The endowment capital is not depleted; the return on investment is distributed to worthy causes.

The Wolfs have three grown children who they hope in the future will become part of the foundation.

Norton and Lucille administer the program. You do not simply write a check to your favorite charity. One has to assess where there is a need and where the funds can do the most good for the community.

The foundation is involved in the Arts and Health Sciences in London. Lucille and Norton are a very private couple who are reticent to speak of their philanthropy.

I called the London Public Library, Robarts Research Institute, London Health Science Center and the Fowler Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic to get their views.

Bill Irwin , Director of Communications for the library e mailed me: "One of their first ventures was the creation of the Wolf Sculpture Garden to be enjoyed by all who visit the downtown. Their lead donation gave creation to the Wolf Performance Hall at the Central Library."

Linda Quattrin,, Director of Communications for Robart’s dropped me an e mail on Lucille’s involvement with the institute. "Lucille’s energy and enthusiasm for the research we do at Robarts is unparalleled. She plays an important role as chief ambassador in London and beyond."

Bob Furlong, Executive Director, Fowler Kennedy informed me that: "The Wolfs were instrumental in the construction of the state of the art Orthopedic Lab. As a result of their hard work we now have one of the leading bio-mechanical labs in the country. The techniques developed will lead to improved treatment options and quality of life for people suffering from Osteoarthritis".

Dan Ross, President and C. E. O, London Health Science Center Foundation, spoke eloquently of the Wolf’s caring. "Lucille and Norton have been wonderful supporters of the hospital giving of their time, inspiration, resources for many years. Their generous contribution to the hospital’s Pre Admission /Surgical Preparation Clinics last year aided 6,500 patients. They represent health care philanthropy at its very best".

Everyone I talked to had one consistent message: "The Wolfs are very genuine, generous people. They really believe in and care about their community."

At the age of 89 Norton passed his medical/ flying requirements with ease; He decided to go skiing in Aspen Colorado for a week and jumped into his plane. On the way back to his love, Lucile, in Florida, he stopped in a small town to refuel his plane and get some lunch. As fate would have it he was killed by a motorist while he was walking across the road.

He left an endowment to establish the "Norton Wolf School of Aviation" at Fanshawe College for generations of students to follow his love of flying.

What is the purpose of life? What makes our lives meaningful? Perhaps the Wolf’s learned that passing on a heritage and making the world a better place for others brings forth contentment and in the end happiness.

Len Lesser is an education/career counselor.mailto:lenlesser@hotmail.comhttp://www.career-education.ca

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com