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Foundation receives $700,000 legacy gift from Hull estate

BRADENTON -- Eugene and Elizabeth “Bonnie” Hull were passionate about many things and foremost among them was music.

After retiring here in 1983 from Columbus, Ohio, they became one of the founders of the original Manatee Symphony Association.

For their 50th wedding anniversary, Hull wrote a waltz for his wife.

“How cool, how romantic,” said Marilyn Howard, executive director of the Manatee Community Foundation.

Though the couple is deceased, their love of music goes on. The MCF, which they also helped found, is receiving a legacy gift of approximately $700,000 from the Hull estate.

The gift creates an endowed fund at MCF, bearing their names, that will support charitable programs in Manatee that enhance education, music and the arts.

“It will be as if Bonnie and Gene are still here, signing checks to the organizations and programs that mattered most to them,” Howard said. “This is wonderful for the community.”

The Hulls met during World War II. He was an Army staff sergeant; she, a member of the Women’s Army Corps.

They were married almost 60 years. Eugene Hull passed in 2005 at 85. Bonnie Hull passed in January at 93.

“They were very kind, every day people who lived simply and were involved in their community,” Howard said.

The Hulls, who had no children, created a donor advised fund at MCF in 2000 and supported a wide variety of nonprofit organizations with grants from their fund.

Their legacy gift is probably the third largest the MCF has received, according to Howard. The foundation has $22.9 million in assets.

“It’s a really nice-sized gift in these times,” she said.

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055.