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Solheim Lutheran Home Receives Record $1.2 Million Gift

EAGLE ROCK, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 04/25/14 -- Several years ago, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) educator John R. Manken picked out Solheim Lutheran Home for his elderly mother. Although she never resided at the Eagle Rock retirement community before passing away, Manken still wrote a $1.2 million gift for Solheim into his will.

Solheim announced Manken's $1.2 million bequest today -- the single largest gift from an individual in their 90-year history. "We usually receive donations from family members of our residents who appreciate the exceptional care that our staff provides to their loved one so this record gift took us totally by surprise," said Solheim development director Tina Antypas. "A gift like this enables us to continue to help provide loving care for seniors at a time in their life when they need compassion the most. It is such a wonderful blessing."

Manken was a devout Lutheran who died at the age of 89 from a heart attack in March 2012. He had never married and had no descendants. He also left a sizable bequest to California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks and left funds to a Lutheran church in Pacific Palisades that he attended.

Manken was a native Californian whose parents moved to Los Angeles from Minnesota and owned a plumbing business. He received a master's degree in music from the University of Southern California (USC) and after a year touring as a concert pianist, he decided to become a teacher and returned to USC to earn a doctorate in educational administration. Manken later became a teacher and eventually a principal for the LAUSD. He enjoyed encouraging students to pursue the arts and entertaining his staff several times a year at his Pacific Palisades home.

Those who knew Manken well said that he had a great sense of humor and was always very thoughtful of others -- living his life as a reflection of the teachings of his Lutheran faith. His estate went primarily to Lutheran organizations as a tribute. Today, Lutherans are a minority of the 190 residents at Solheim, an independent, non-profit continuing care facility providing a full spectrum of care to people of all faiths or none with a Lutheran chapel for residents who want to attend services.

Manken's gift will be used to make renovations to the Solheim's campus and remodel its memory care wing with new carpeting, paint, furniture and a special "memory box" outside of each resident's room where they can display their special mementos and photos. Solheim will be renovating their dining room and interior spaces as well and the gift will also enable the organization to continue to provide charitable care to residents who outlive their financial assets so they can continue to live at Solheim.

"Solheim has always been synonymous with quality of care, and it's deeply gratifying to receive a gift that not only recognizes that fact but will enable us to continue to provide outstanding care in a great environment for our residents," said Solheim executive director Jim Graunke.

Solheim is entering its tenth decade of service as an Eagle Rock retirement community and celebrated its 90th anniversary last year. Named one of the country's best nursing homes for 2014 by U.S. News & World Report, Solheim started out in 1923 as a 12-room dwelling on an acre of land in Eagle Rock and has grown into a two-and-one-half acre community that is home to almost 200 residents with more than 150 employees. Solheim offers four levels of care: Residential, Assisted Living, Memory Care and Skilled Nursing.

For more information about Solheim Lutheran Home, to make a donation or learn about Planned Giving on Solheim's behalf, visit www.SolheimLutheran.org.

Tina Antypas (call for photos or info)
Phone: 323-257-7518
Email: Email Contact

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