Many people make charitable donations toward organizations they support during their lifetime, but an estate gift can leave a legacy that endures long after a person is gone. Recently, Bethel University was the recipient of estate gifts from David Chart and John Coldeberg. Both of these men faithfully supported Bethel University during their lives, and both left significant gifts that will impact Bethel students for many years to come.

“I think, noteworthy of both of these men – community events brought them to our campus. Once they were here on our campus, they were sold on what Bethel produces. They stepped on our campus and were impacted in a great way,” says Emily Sherwood ’99, director of development and alumni.

David Chart was an avid supporter of Bethel Pilots Men’s Basketball and could often be seen in the stands, alongside his dear friend of 45 years, Sandra Weaver. Though he wasn’t a player himself, he enjoyed watching from the sidelines and even set up a scholarship to be given to non-athletes who were involved with the team. Throughout his life, he gave to Bethel basketball, task force trips and the Bethel fund, which supports student scholarships. He set up the David Chart Endowed Scholarship in 2019 to be
fully funded upon his passing.

“David always wanted to play basketball, but his parents wouldn’t let him,” says Weaver. “[He] really enjoyed getting cards from the basketball managers who received his scholarship.”

When Chart was in hospice care toward the end of his life, Men’s Basketball Head Coach Steve Drabyn presented him with a basketball signed by the team, a gift that was cherished.

Weaver describes Chart as a God-fearing man who was a very caring person, dedicated to his faith and his work. He enjoyed supporting Bethel basketball, coming to campus to watch plays and going on adventures alongside her with Edgerton’s Travel. He served as the caretaker for Gospel Center Missionary Church and had a gentle, giving spirit.

John Coldeberg, along with his wife Fern, first became acquainted with Bethel by attending the Music and
Lecture Series in the 1980s. They fell in love with Bethel – and though they had not been blessed with children of their own, they wanted to give to help educate others. In his life, Coldeberg served in the Navy and worked as a machinist and cost estimator for Dodge Manufacturing for 24 years. Fern was described as a “happy housewife” who loved to take care of her garden and sew. They enjoyed 58 years of marriage before her passing in 2021. The couple gave their estate in its entirety to Bethel University, leaving no restrictions but noting that they wanted to “enhance the student experience.”

“[John] stewarded every dollar knowing it was going to go to Bethel,” says Sherwood, who visited Coldeberg several times before his passing. “In turn, we want to steward every dollar, making sure it enhances the student experience as he had hoped.”