After graduating from Michigan State University, Ethel obtained her physical therapy certificate from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in 1942. She served as a physical therapist around the United States and in Germany until she retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1967. During this time she made many weekend visits to her favorite spot, "The Back of the Moon", her cottage in Norwood on the shore of Lake Michigan. A second career led her to the Marshall Islands, where she worked for the Government of the Trust Territory of the United States. Ethel worked on the island of Majuro in the Pacific for 18 years, where many of her patients were young native children.
When she retired with honors from the Trust Territory in 1984, Ethel enjoyed life at her cherished cottage in northern Michigan. She engaged with the community through volunteer work, hiking, reading, and painting. She began making a difference closer to home through the Community Foundation. "There are so many local programs worthy of support," Ethel said, "and the Community Foundation offers so many options." Ethel decided to establish a donor advised fund; the Community Foundation helped with the transfer of appreciated stock and handled all the paperwork. When Ethel passed away in 2003, her estate established funds to support the environment, Charlevoix Library, Ellsworth Schools, and the Charlevoix Area Community Pool.
Of particular significance is the Ethel Coeling Environmental Fund. Ethel's estate gift has allowed for the Community Foundation to make grants that have restored, preserved, and protected this beautiful corner of the world. To learn more about what has been accomplished thanks to the Ethel W. Coeling Environmental Fund, visit recent grants.
Ethel's legacy lives on when her funds continue to support the aspects of community that she loved most during her lifetime.
Is a legacy gift right for you? Learn more about leaving a legacy through the Community Foundation.