Late Admiral and his Widow Continue to Serve through Charitable Lead Trust
From the moment William D. Houser entered the Naval Academy at age 16, the Navy became his life. During his 35-year career as a naval aviator, he served as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air Warfare), Commander of Carrier Division Two of the U.S. Atlantic and Mediterranean Fleets, U.S. Navy Director of Aviation Plans and Requirements and military assistant to the Secretary of Defense. He fought in World War II and commanded fighter squadrons during the Korean War and the aircraft carrier CONSTELLATION during the Vietnam War. He retired a vice admiral in 1976, and received the Naval Academy's Distinguished Graduate Award in 2003.
"He was the youngest flag officer in the Navy at the time he became an admiral," said his second wife and widow, Jan.
As he grew older, Admiral Houser looked for ways to support several non-profit organizations close to his heart, including the Naval Academy Foundation, as well as to leave a legacy for his children and grandchildren. The couple decided to establish a charitable lead trust, which reduces potential taxes on their estates by first donating a portion of the trust's income to a number of charities to their favorite charities and then eventually transferring the remainder of the trust to their beneficiaries.
"We were always supportive of the Naval Academy Foundation," said Mrs. Houser, whose three sons-in-law have all served in the Navy, including Captain Robert Riera '69, USN (Ret.).
During Admiral Houser's lifetime, the trust helped provide support for athletics; wardroom improvements; science, technology, engineering and mathematics outreach initiatives and other programs. Since his death in 2012, Mrs. Houser has continued to expand the scope of programs benefiting from her family's support, most recently focusing on international programs. She will continue to direct the trust's proceeds throughout her lifetime, after which the gift will become unrestricted, able to support whichever programs most need additional resources.
"My first experience with a charitable lead trust was helping my mother set one up," said Mrs. Houser, who spent many years volunteering with educational and civic organizations in Washington. D.C., including the National Cathedral School for Girls, where she became friends with Peggy Kauffman, wife of former Superintendent Rear Admiral Draper Kauffman of the Class of 1933, and came to admire the Academy long before meeting Admiral Houser in 1998. "I directed the payments from my mother's trust for the first 10 years, and my children took over for the next 10. My husband valued both family and philanthropy, and I encouraged him to consider a charitable lead trust as a way of providing for both. I want our children and grandchildren to understand the importance of giving."
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