Tom & Mary Naquin Family

Sense of Responsibility

In 1968, after several years in the Detroit area with General Motors, Tom Naquin and his wife Mary were ready to move to another locale. “Tom selected Elkhart,” Mary says, “because it was a community with a good business environment and strong entrepreneurial spirit.” Consequently, Tom established his Chevrolet automobile dealership in Elkhart that year. Later, the Nissan, Oldsmobile and Cadillac product lines were added. 2008 marked the 40th anniversary of the Tom Naquin Chevrolet-Nissan-Olds-Cadillac dealership, under the leadership of their son Thad.

As the Elkhart County Community Foundation was getting its start in the late 1980s, Tom and Mary made their initial gift to the ECCF… with a strong belief in keeping their donation in Elkhart. Why? Because the principal stays here. Interest earned benefits their two selected charities.

Family Culture

While Tom died in 2005, his and Mary’s legacy of giving back to the community lives on in the second generation of their family. “All our children – Thad and his sisters Liz and Jeannelle – inherited our sense of responsibility,” Mary says. “They each give of their time as well as monetarily.”

Each are members of the ECCF’s Legacy Society, composed of community members who name ECCF as a beneficiary upon their death, via a bequest, trust or other planned gift. “Making a charitable bequest is so easy,” says Liz. “You simply write it in your will. This way you know there’s something given back to the community.”

Asked if leaving a legacy was important to them, the siblings agree: “Only so our children will remember our parents and know that if you work hard, you can succeed. It’s a family culture.”

 Catherine Wells-Bentz