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Judy Rahrig and Bob Garretson on Giving Back

It’s National Estate Planning Awareness Week – a perfect time to plan ahead for the future of your loved ones and community, just like Judy has.

Judy Drew Rahrig was raised in downtown Muskegon and has always wanted to see it flourish and for everyone to have a chance to love it as much as she does. Growing up, she would take the bus to the beach with her sisters, spend time at Hackley Public Library, and stroll through the art museum. Judy is a true lover of Muskegon. She and her late husband, Joe, were high school sweethearts, and one of their first dates was at the Michigan Theater, now the Frauenthal Center. Even though they both went away for college, they always knew they would come back home to Muskegon.

Muskegon was good to their family and business, and it was important to them to give back. Judy thought about setting up a fund to be a part of the many improvements happening downtown. She worked with Bob Garretson, her professional advisor, and George Johnson, the family’s longtime estate planning attorney from Parmenter O’Toole (now known as Parmenter Law), to connect her with the Community Foundation.

“We had been working with different advisors and came to realize that we could really trust Bob,” said Judy. “I trust him because he is involved in the community and understands our priorities. He values what we value.”

With Bob and George’s help, Judy used tax-free distributions from her IRA to create an Unrestricted Fund, as well as appreciated stock to create a Donor Advised Fund she can use as her primary giving vehicle. In addition, she’s planned a future estate gift from her IRA. 

“We have three children,” said Judy. “Instead of splitting it 33-33-34%, I decided to leave each of them 30% and give the remaining 10% to the Community Foundation.”

This plan reflects how both she and Joe have lived their lives.

“Everything Joe and Judy did for decades has been aligning money with their values,” said Bob Garretson. “It’s about how the family can have an impact yesterday, today, and tomorrow. What’s happening locally is because of people like Joe and Judy. The alignments between your work, your community, and the ways you can give back are endless.” 

While Bob Garretson is not originally from the area, he says he “married into Muskegon.” He met his wife, Heather Albertie Garretson, while she was away at law school. Among other things, Bob has been on the Community enCompass board for 16 years and says it’s some of the work that he is most proud of. Whether through his business downtown, the Donor Advised Fund he and Heather created for their giving, or by hosting the entire Muskegon Big Reds football team at their home for ice cream “Sundaes on Sundays,” Bob believes in pouring into this community. Helping clients like Judy plan their giving is an extension of this belief.

Two-thirds of Americans lack an up-to-date estate plan. Now is a great time to make a plan to help you avoid unnecessary taxes, protect your loved ones, and give back to the community you love.

If you would like to explore your giving options, please reach out to one of our Development team members.

Heidi Sytsema

Pete DeBoer

Bonita Jackson