Clements' Children Honor Their Father And Mother Through The Drexel Fund
Joe and Polly Clement raised six children and sacrificed to send them to Catholic grade and high schools despite all the financial challenges doing so posed.
The children wanted to honor their parents for everything they did for the siblings, but couldn't think of an appropriate way until their daughter, Jeannie Roberts, read an article in the Catholic Advance.
"This is it," Jeannie said, "My brothers all agreed there would be no better way to honor them for the many ways they sacrificed to make sure all six of us would be grounded in our Catholic faith by attending Catholic schools in addition to their example at home."
Jeannie had just finished reading an article about how Wichitan Gregg Lesh honored his late wife, Jean, by establishing a St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School Fund in her name.
"My brothers and I had been thinking about a way to honor mom and dad for quite some time, but they are very humble people and we knew if we wanted to get a buy-in from them, it would have to be something they truly believed in especially if their name would be associated with it," she said.
Establishing the fund will not only honor their parents, Jeannie added, it will also benefit others for their parents' commitment to the importance of Catholic education.
The oldest of the Clements' five sons, Don, said he believes their parents are among the many unsung heroes in the diocese who recognize the value of a Catholic education.
"They were willing to sacrifice and at one point work two jobs to make their dream come alive," he said. "We believed that by creating a Drexel fund in their name, we were paying tribute to their commitment to the Catholic education experience."
Don added that, perhaps more importantly, the Clement children came together as a family to implement a means to provide those same types of opportunities for other less advantaged children in the diocese.
Marty said he remembers his parents' unfailing dedication to give all six children a Catholic education - regardless of the financial considerations. "That perspective, combined with the belief that a Catholic education was a strong foundation for life, has driven us to continue that heritage with our children."
Jim, the youngest sibling at 45, said being raised, mentored, and supported by his parents and witnessing their example has been like a commercial says, "priceless."
"Mom and dad's values shined through in all of my siblings," Jim said. "Mom and dad set the tone for which all of us would strive."
He added that his parents worked their "tails off" for the children. "We had what we needed, didn't need what we didn't have, and I can say that all of us appreciated everything we were given and ultimately earned."
Mom and Dad were always there for me, Jim said, "helping in any way possible. And that is what living Christ-like is all about."
Bob said the single most important compliment he could give his parents would be for their ability to instill the strong bond among the parents, children, and grandchildren.
"Family gatherings throughout the year never fail to start with a prayer before eating and an extended prayer to include thanksgiving for all that we have," he said.
Mom and Dad taught by example, Bob said. "Hard work, discipline, and treating others like you want to be treated are traits that have been passed down to each one of my siblings," he said.
The Drexel fund in their parents' name will help spread the faith, he said, "and help those who may not be as fortunate, honor all of the hard work and dedication that Mom and Dad have given over their lifetime and will continue to give for years to come."
Kevin said he and his wife have been blessed by his parents' example of commitment to the Catholic faith and Catholic schooling.
"We are excited to help recognize mom and dad for their devotion," Kevin said. "I believe the Drexel Fund is a great way to share that gift of love."
Want more information about the fund?
To learn more about the Drexel fund or to make a donation, visit CatholicDioceseOfWichita.org/drexel.