Sheryl Birk Gable '75 Voices Gratitude with Gift of Life Insurance

Donor Photo

Sheryl Birk Gable '75 remembers marching around her basement at the age of 3 and singing The Music Man's "Seventy-Six Trombones" with her toy trombone in hand. A lifelong music lover, she eventually joined Augsburg College's Sateren Choir, led by Professor Leland Sateren '35, Augsburg music professor from 1946 to 1979 and music department chair.

"It was a huge honor to be chosen to sing in that choir," says the English literature and French major. In 2013, on what would have been Professor Sateren's 100th birthday, Sheryl and four decades of choir alumni honored his legacy by offering a special concert of his music at Normandale Lutheran Church in Edina, Minn.

Sheryl made her gift to the endowed Leland B. Sateren Choral Music Scholarship in the form of a life insurance policy. A portion of the future proceeds will go toward the Sateren scholarship and the remainder will support other scholarship funds at Augsburg.

Life-Changing Experiences at Augsburg

"I had no idea how poor we were," says Sheryl of her childhood. "It never occurred to me that the reason my mom never had any new clothes was because I always did."

Shy as a young girl, Sheryl blossomed at Augsburg. "The moment I stepped on campus my life changed completely," she says.

The first person she met remained her best friend all through college. To this day, Sheryl and her husband, Mark, have a large group of friends from Augsburg.

Sheryl sang in the Choral Club led by Professor Stephen "Gabe" Gabrielsen '63 in her freshman year, but being selected to join the alto section in the Sateren Choir astounded her and boosted her confidence.

"Dr. Sateren was larger than life," she remembers. "He was a mighty man with so much force to his personality that I can't think of him in the past tense. ... If he looked at you, you felt like a field mouse being caught in the eye of an eagle."

In honor of its 40th anniversary, the choir traveled to Scandinavia in 1975. Sheryl remembers traveling in a dilapidated, soon-to-be-condemned boat up the Norwegian coast, into the Arctic Circle. Along the journey, townspeople would parade down to the harbor to meet the choir.

She remembers cold, lurching treks to the above-deck restroom; corn flakes for dessert; and, on one occasion, watching the greenish yoke of an overcooked hard-boiled egg roll up and down the dining hall table in rhythm with the vigorous rocking of the boat.

"I had the pleasure of rooming with Leland and Pauline Sateren's daughter Kathy, who was just 14 at the time," Sheryl remembers.

Life After Augsburg

Sheryl married Mark Gable in 1981. With Mark, she worked as a migrant farm worker in Australia and hitchhiked through New Zealand before settling down in Perth, where Mark taught technical education and Sheryl was a court reporter.

The couple eventually returned to the United States and raised two children. Sheryl says she and Mark aren't wealthy, but they are pleased that they were able to give their children everything they needed in life.

She doesn't think that her children, now grown, will miss the proceeds from the insurance policy Sheryl has given to Augsburg. And she's happy that it will help future students.

"I can't even imagine how many kids are in the same position I was in," she says, remembering the financial support that made it possible for her to attend Augsburg. "I'm so grateful to Augsburg and especially to Leland Sateren."

Learn More

Discover the many different ways you can support Auggies today and tomorrow with a planned gift. Contact Amy Alkire at 612-330-1188 or alkirea@augsburg.edu.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Augsburg University a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Augsburg University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 2211 Riverside Ave., CB 142, Minneapolis, MN 55454, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Augsburg University or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Augsburg University as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Augsburg University as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Augsburg University where you agree to make a gift to Augsburg University and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.