Long-time Portsmouth resident Marian Micklethwaite Caskey died on March 15, 2017 at age 92 after establishing one of the largest unrestricted funds ever created at the Scioto Foundation in her will. Her generous bequest, totaling more than $765,000, will provide substantial support for the betterment of the Portsmouth community and a variety of charitable causes in the future.
The daughter of Dr. Gilbert and Margaret Legler Micklethwaite, Caskey was born on February 14, 1926, in Portsmouth. She graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1946 and earned a B.S Degree in Education from Denison University in 1946. For several years she and her husband, John Taylor Caskey, lived in Baton Rouge, Lousiana, where he was an attorney for the police department. When he died in 1977, Marian returned to Portsmouth to live.
Caskey retired from a career as a fifth grade school teacher and was a member of First Presbyterian Church. She loved helping her brother Harold as a hostess in his well-known local restaurant and was fond of playing bridge.
“Marian was an absolute delight,” said her good friend, John Thatcher. “She had a great sense of humor and enjoyed parties. She saved her money but was very giving. She gave money to many organizations, as well as to individuals who had been nice to her and especially to people who really needed it. She was a beautiful person.”
Another friend was Susan O’Neill, co-owner of Market Street Café, who was a young girl when she first met Marian at Harold’s Restaurant.
“I developed a friendship with Marian at Hill View while visiting Bev Berger,” O’Neill said. “We spent many early evenings on the patio talking about things going on in the “outside world,” as she called it. “We also spent a lot of time talking about when she worked at Harold’s and enjoying funny stories about her brother. I took her and Bev dinner from our Café one evening and she loved the special attention. She said ‘This is lovely’ and asked if we could do it again!”
“Marian was a very social person and loved to play cards. She was always talking about how she loved Bridge and the many friends she made while playing. She was always looking for someone to play cards; she kept her cards in her walker,” continued O’Neill.
O’Neill also recalls Caskey talking about her father making her go to the University of Michigan and how she didn’t like it because it was so big. She was happy when he let her transfer to Denison which she called “her little Denison.”
“I felt honored to be called her friend and I loved my time I spent with her,” O’Neill said. “Even when she didn’t feel good she always had a smile when I visited with her. She was one special lady!”
Several other local nonprofit organizations and institutions also benefitted from Caskey’s generous bequest.
Grants and funds distributed from unrestricted funds like those established by Caskey can be used to meet ever-changing community needs, including future issues that often cannot be anticipated at the time the gifts are made, according to Scioto Foundation Executive Director Kim Cutlip. They can help serve community causes in the areas of education, economic development, arts and culture, health and human services, neighborhood revitalization and more.
“The flexibility of unrestricted gifts enables the Scioto Foundation’s programs to respond to the community’s most pressing concerns and ensures that the benefactor will always be involved with and remembered for his or her community investment,” said Cutlip.
More detailed information about establishing an unrestricted fund or other types of planned giving at the Scioto Foundation may be obtain by contacting Cutlip or Patty Tennant, Program Officer – Donor Services at (740) 353-4612.