Shaping a Legacy

Moberly Residents' Small-Town Values Help Make a Better World

The quiet town of Moberly, Mo., has a hero. Standing tall in Moberly's beautiful Rothwell Park is the sculpture of General Omar Bradley, a local boy who grew up to lead 1.3 million men into battle during World War II, helping to save the world from tyranny. Bradley's old-fashioned values-hard work, intelligence and humility-led to greatness. In Bradley's West Point yearbook, his classmate Dwight E. Eisenhower penned this accolade: "True merit is like a river; the deeper it is, the less noise it makes."

Just a few yards from Bradley's Memorial is the home of Moberly native Helen Kappler. She and her late husband, Carl, have also done much to merit honor, although-like Omar Bradley-they haven't made much noise about it.

Early on, Carl and Helen learned the value of hard work and responsibility-each of their fathers died when they were just 5 years old. "Carl worked from the time he was little," Helen says. "...Even as a boy, he delivered Sunday newspapers, pulling them around town in his wagon."

Though Carl and Helen were raised in the same close-knit community and attended high school classes together, they initially went their separate ways. Helen departed for business college in Dallas, Texas, and Carl went to work for the Norfolk Southern railroad. But they became reacquainted during a "coincidental" downtown meeting after returning to Moberly, and they were married in 1941.

In the wake of the Depression, and because of the need to provide for his family, Carl couldn't afford to go to college. Though he forged a successful career as a railroad engineer, the desire to make a college education possible for others was a driving force in Carl's life. And as longtime season ticket holders for Mizzou's football Tigers and as avid supporters of the University, the Kapplers could think of no better place to invest in the future.

So, a number of years before Carl passed away in 1996, he and Helen established a provision in their estate plans that will provide generous scholarships for students in MU's College of Education. "We wanted to help people," Helen said recently, "...and it's also important that recipients of our scholarship help others when the time comes."

Helping others-by working hard and by living sacrificially-those are the values that make a better life possible for others. Those are the values of General Omar Bradley, yes-but also of Carl and Helen Kappler. Each of them, in a special way, has shaped a legacy that will stand for all time.

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