GWINN/NEGAUNEE — A local school district along with an animal shelter each received over $837,000 from a married couple that both passed away within the past few years.

Ruth and Phillip Spade were both employed with the Gwinn School District and had an insurmountable passion for promoting education. Even after their deaths, their legacy of helping others learn will live on. Gwinn Area community Schools received $837,415.35 on behalf of the Spade’s for scholarships.

“It shows the service that it’s always great to give back to your community,” said Gwinn Area Community Schools Superintendent Tom Jayne, “and by establishing a scholarship for our students; hopefully they’re going to go on to be more successful wherever they are in their life after their journey, hopefully they give back to their local community.”

The Spade’s were very adamant about the money being used for scholarships for Gwinn students.

“So the scholarship is $10,000, well that’s what they’re recommending for the first year, “said Community Foundation of Marquette County CEO Gail Anthony, “and with a renewable clause so that potentially a student could receive a scholarship for $10,000, have it renewed in their sophomore, junior, and senior year. So it is a life–saving, life–changing, significant scholarship.”

Another check of the same amount was given to support another one of the Spade’s passions; animals. With that, this is the largest bequest UPAWS has ever seen.

“I don’t even know if there is enough words to even say what it means to the animals,” said UPAWS Board President Reva Laituri, “because it’s a legacy that they are leaving that’s going to benefit thousands of animals.”

The money for UPAWS will assist with their general operating costs and be allocated mostly toward their new facility. Although they have both passed on, those who knew the Spade’s are confident they would be pleased with the opportunities they will be providing.

“We’re really good friends of Phil and Ruth’s and we knew for a long time this was the two areas where they wanted to donate their money,” said Executor of the trust David Wills.