Steve Naert ’80 recalls the time he parachuted out of a plane after college. At 3,000 feet and traveling at 100 miles per hour, the jump master yelled, “Let go!”
For Naert, skydiving was a leap of faith, but it wouldn’t be the last.
Naert attended Purdue University (BS chemical engineering) and Washington University (MBA). He began his career as a manufacturing engineer and eventually retired from a position in healthcare services.
A subsequent leap of faith may have been less dramatic than jumping out of a plane, but it was far more challenging.
Steve and Anita were compelled by the experience of friends who had found fulfillment in the practice of tithing, which wasn’t something the Naerts were accustomed to. Inspired by their friends, the Naerts decided early in their family life to put their faith into action, donating the first fruits of their hard-earned wages to charity.
“We began to shift from spend-save-give to give-save-spend,” Naert said. “We had such huge expenses ahead of us: our kids were in Catholic school and then there was college. We had a mortgage. But we gritted our teeth and believed that a God who tells us He will be faithful to us would meet our needs.
A major influence on Steve was his time at St. Louis University High School, particularly his teachers.
“They came to SLUH every day to mold a bunch of adolescent boys, encouraging us to become mature men who were able to succeed and deal with the difficulties they knew laid ahead of us,” Naert said.
As a natural progression of their annual giving, the Naerts did their estate planning when they were in their early 40’s. They included SLUH as a partial beneficiary of their estate because of their deep appreciation for the dedication of the school’s teachers and the opportunity many disadvantaged Jr. Bills receive.
“We decided to tell our kids as they entered high school our plans for our estate,” Naert said. “So they knew as they entered adulthood that we planned for them to receive something at our death, but also that we intended to continue to support our favorite charities. We hope by planting those seeds in their minds that they will follow the same path. They see it’s a part of who you are and it becomes a part of them.
In addition to serving as models of generosity, Steve and Anita will allow SLUH to thrive for future generations of Jr. Bills through their bequest.
Learn how you can create a lasting legacy at SLUH, just like the Naerts have done, by contacting Linda Domeyer at (314) 269-2113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.