Cal And Evelyn Bensema

"When They Saw a Need, They Gave"

Article Type: Life Stories

The ongoing legacy of Cal and Evelyn Bensema

There’s a smile in Louise Ridlon’s voice as she shares memories about William “Cal” and Evelyn Bensema. “We are so blessed to have them as parents,” she says on behalf of her sisters, Vicki Jaramillo and Caroline Lindsey.

Since Cal went to be with the Lord in 2010, and Evelyn in 2015, Louise has had regular reminders of the many ways they modeled faith and generosity to everyone who knew them. Throughout their 62 years of marriage, Cal and Evelyn were committed volunteers and financial supporters of their local church, and several Christian ministries. “When they saw a need they gave,” says Louise.

When a former pastor left a gift in his will to their church, Cal advocated for the gift to be used to establish the LARC (Lincoln Avenue Reformed Church) Foundation, and he encouraged others to give to it, as well. “He had a pretty good campaign going,” recalls Louise, “Some people would have loved to use that principal, but nope, it was set aside for perpetuity.

"Now that Foundation is used to fund education and outreach programs in the church.”

It came as no surprise to Louise and her sisters when Cal and Evelyn left significant gifts to several kingdom causes by naming Barnabas Foundation in their wills. They planned to divide all they had equally among their “children”—including three daughters and a “child named charity.” Louise shares what a gift that was to her and her sisters to have a solid plan in place. “I knew—we all knew—that everything was in place,” she says. “I didn’t have to do anything except just make sure that the terms of the trust were fulfilled.”

Louise is proud of the impact Cal and Evelyn left both in the church and ministries they served and in the lives of their children and grandchildren.

“I try to be as generous as they were,” says Louise. “We have all been blessed with resources, and they modeled the importance of stewarding it well.”