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Earl & Margaret Leake

Earl & Margaret Leake
Lives Committed to Education and Each Other

By Vincent Way

Had you asked young Miss Margaret Thornborrow, a newly-minted elementary schoolteacher fresh out of college, what the greatest challenge was in her chosen profession, the answer may have been a tie between maintaining student order during rocket attacks or dodging falling anti-aircraft shrapnel on the walk home after work. The year was 1944, the place London, and despite the eventual Allied victory, life in post-WWII England remained difficult for years thereafter. When she was selected as a teacher-ambassador in a U.S.-U.K. teacher exchange program in 1948, it was an opportunity Margaret could not pass up.

Margaret's good fortune turned out to be excellent luck as well for George Pepperdine College alumnus and schoolteacher Earl Leake (GPC 1946). They eventually met at an English teachers convention in Claremont, California, igniting a romance and marriage that has lasted more than fifty years. Like so many alumni of Pepperdine College, Earl joined the teaching profession, inspiring countless Southern California students over a long career. Earl taught all grade levels and special education, earned a master's degree in education, and capped his career as a senior administrator in the Norwalk-La Mirada School District.

The couple's commitment to education is not only professional, as they also regularly contribute to educational causes, especially the Pepperdine Associates. When Earl and Margaret retired from teaching, rents from their investment properties became a vital part of their retirement. But as time has taken its toll on their ability to actively manage their properties, they turned to the Center for Estate and Gift Planning to help meet their retirement and legacy needs. By donating their appreciated real estate through the University's charitable annuity plans, the Leakes have been able to escape the drudgery of property management, maintain their lifestyle, provide for long-term care needs, and make some major gifts to the University.

Most recently, the University accepted the family's Roundthwaite Farm in Cumbria, England, from Margaret. Attorney and associate vice chancellor Keith Hinkle at the Center for Estate and Gift Planning quips, "It's usually inadvisable for anyone to 'give away the farm'." Then he adds, "But in Margaret's case, it is a family legacy that we are humbled to receive. Earl and Margaret are two of the most generous people I know."

Sadly, the Leakes lost both their daughter and son to untimely deaths in early adulthood. As committed Christians and active church members, they credit their faith with sustaining them in those tragic times. The University is privileged to memorialize each of them: in 1996, the Janet Leake Classroom was dedicated on the Florence campus, and the Paul Leake Foyer was dedicated on the London campus. Reflecting on the legacy that he leaves through his alma mater, Earl hopes that "any scholar who would attend Pepperdine, should not be prevented for a lack of funds." Margaret adds, "It's very heartwarming to assist young people broaden their education. We're so glad to help."

You also may want to make it easy and convenient to have a bequest included in your will. The language below shows how a bequest can very easily be included in your will.

You might find it helpful to select the "print" button below and print this page. Please feel free to give this information to your attorney. If he or she has any questions, please have them contact Stephanie Buckley, J.D., LL.M. at phone number 310-506-4893 or e-mail us at [email protected].

Example bequest language - Please feel free to change the numbers or percentages as you desire.

1. Bequest of cash

"I bequeath the sum of $10,000 to Pepperdine University of Malibu, CA."

2. Bequest of a percent of the estate

"I devise and bequeath 20% of the remainder and residue of property owned at my death, whether real or personal, and wherever located to Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA."

3. Contingent Bequest

"If my brother John Doe survives me, I devise and bequeath 20% of the remainder and residue of property owned at my death, whether real or personal, and wherever located to John Doe. If John Doe does not survive me, then I devise and bequeath 20% of my residuary estate, whether real or personal property and wherever located to Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA."