Shirley Drawbaugh, a Salina native, has left an estate gift of $3 million to the Greater Salina Community Foundation for the benefit of First Presbyterian Church and Salina Community Theatre. The fund will permanently provide annual support for each organization.
Born in Salina, Drawbaugh graduated from Salina High School in 1946 and Marymount College in 1950. She lived an ordinary life as an administrative assistant at the Mobil Oil Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri, where she worked for many years before returning home to Salina in 1983. Drawbaugh never married or had children, instead devoting her life to serving both the church and theatre. She died on January 25, 2019, at the age of 91.
“Shirley was deeply committed to both her church and her theatre,” said Salina attorney Pete Peterson, who shared news of the gift with the organizations last week. “It was both humbling and gratifying to be able to help her set up an endowment fund that will benefit them forever.”
Drawbaugh was involved in Salina Community Theatre for more than 35 years. She served on the board of directors, was an active member of the Salina Theatre Guild, and volunteered time raising money, ushering and working front-of-house duties. Drawbaugh also appeared on stage, acting in productions of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Ladies in Retirement,” “Mornings at Seven,” and “Driving Miss Daisy,” in which she played the role of Miss Daisy. SCT executive director Michael Spicer said that, through her gift, Drawbaugh’s love for the theatre will continue to impact the lives of those on and off stage for generations to come.
“This is the most substantial single gift ever made to Salina Community Theatre, and will, as Shirley wished, be used to enhance the educational and theatre-going experiences of more than 40,000 children and adults annually,” said Spicer. “We are honored that she held the theatre in such high regard, and that she wished that the enjoyment and pride she felt would continue through her deep generosity.”
Mary Andersen, longtime member of First Presbyterian Church, said Drawbaugh always put concern for others before herself, exemplified in her “passionate support of FPC’s mission giving and her faithful worship attendance for as long as she was able.” Drawbaugh served on the church’s session and pastor search committee, among others, and regularly volunteered in the church office.
“The grace-filled and generous gift from Shirley Drawbaugh ensures that her legacy of good works and love for First Presbyterian Church of Salina will continue through the years,” said the Rev. Dr. Charlie Smith, lead pastor. “It is an embodiment of good stewardship and understanding the abundance that God has given to each of us. We are deeply grateful.”
The gift establishes the Shirley Drawbaugh Designated Fund at the community foundation, which will provide unrestricted support for both organizations (50% each). Bennington State Bank, which helped Drawbaugh manage and grow her estate during her life, will oversee management of the fund. Brandy Felzien, trust officer at the bank, worked closely with Drawbaugh as she neared the end of her life.
“Shirley was simple, yet, very intentional about generosity, serving both organizations during her lifetime through her time and financial resources,” said Felzien. “This legacy gift is certainly her intentional way of continuing that generosity.”