Ron and Ann Marek established a designated fund with BCF to support the work of the Benton County Historical Society and Museum. The purpose of the endowment is to inspire youth to learn from and appreciate past human activity and the wonders of natural phenomena by showcasing exhibits in Benton County, Oregon, which have appeal for youth. The couple chose to invest through the foundation because it is a stable and flexible way to invest in the community’s future and provide ongoing support for the museum. “An endowment with BCF provides for local management, recordkeeping, and accountability of funds to help support a cause to which one is committed,” said Ron. “Keeping charitable dollars in the community supports the health of the community.”
Ron and Ann share a love of and collect old things, particularly furniture and artifacts from pre-1890 eras. For both of them, their love of the past was inspired by events early in their lives. Ann’s parents collected antique furniture and cared for the family heirlooms. Ron’s interest began when he visited museums as a youth and was substantially impacted by what he experienced.
Ron is a past president of the Benton County Historical Society. Under his leadership, the organization secured funding to purchase the property on 2nd Street in Corvallis that formerly housed Copeland Lumber. Plans are in the works to build a home at that location for the Horner Collection, most of which is now in storage, and other collections that preserve Benton County’s history.
“It is to the detriment of Corvallis that it doesn’t showcase a museum for our youth as well as our visitors,” said Ron. The Mareks used to take their two daughters, Allison and Megan, to visit the Horner Collection when the girls were young and the collection was housed at Oregon State University.
Ron and Ann were both born and raised in Washington, Iowa. They married after Ann graduated from Drake University and Ron graduated from Iowa State University. Ann taught elementary school while Ron earned a law degree from University of Minnesota. The couple moved to Oregon in 1969 when they joined VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). They moved from Portland to Corvallis in 1972, where Ron opened a private law o?ce and Ann focused on raising their children. Ron continues to practice law with an emphasis in trusts, estates, and elder law.
Ann eventually earned a master’s degree and went to work for the Corvallis School District as a counselor. She retired from counseling in 2001 and assists with the bookkeeping at Ron’s o?ce while being involved in the lives of other family members. Ron and Ann have been active volunteers in the Corvallis community for many years. In addition to his work with the historical society, Ron has been president of the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce, the Benton County Bar Association, the Kiwanis Club of Western Hills, the ArtCentric Endowment Board, and the Methodist Foundation. He has been a member of the Greater Corvallis Rotary Club for many years.
Ann was part of a small group of people who approached Corvallis Disposal about starting a curbside recycling program in Corvallis in the 1970s. The group met at the Marek’s home and was successful in getting the first curbside recycling program up and running. Ann served as a board member for the Old Mill Center for Children and Families, and the Pastoral Counseling Center. Ann and Ron are active in the First United Methodist Church.