Riepe donates over $2 million in will
Even after his death last February, Father Charles Riepe continues to serve the community, through donations to his various affiliates totaling over two million dollars.
His will included gifts to the Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation, the Harford Day School, St. Sebastian’s in Massachusetts, and JC.
Fr. Riepe worked as a pastor at St. Gregory the Great, St. Joseph’s, and as a rector at the Cathedral of Mary our Queen. Riepe also served as a chaplain for Johns Hopkins University, the Maryland State Police, and Baltimore police and fire departments. He also served as headmaster of St. Sebastian’s from 1980 to 1990.
He was a member of the boards of Harford Day, Partners in Excellence, Upper Chesapeake Medical System, and the UCHF (now emeritus).
Fr. Riepe’s largest donation went to the UCHF, a sum of one million dollars.
“[Fr. Riepe] committed the money in November 1999, when we were about ready to build the new hospital [in Bel Air]. He made a provision in his will to help with construction,” said Donna Tower-Lenzener of the Gifts [Donations] Office for UCHF.
The money was in effect spent during construction after the promise was made by Fr. Riepe to donate it upon his death.
About the importance of Fr. Riepe to the hospital, Tower-Lenzener said, “He was one of our major donors and gave large and meaningful gifts to all of our campaigns. He was also a leader here [through his work] on the Board.”
According to the Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation’s “Cornerstone” publication, he was a “benefactor,” donating between $10,000-24,999 to the foundation in 2008. The same year, he was recognized as a member of the “Circles of Support” for donating between $1,000-2,499 to support individual programs like Cancer LifeNet or Community Health Improvement.
Fr. Riepe joined the Board of UCHF in 1995, serving as Vice Chair in 2001, and 2nd Vice Chair in June 2007.
The east wing of the Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air was named after Fr. Riepe for his “philanthropic commitment,” as he “was one of the leaders of the first capital campaign” that funded construction of the hospital, said Tower-Lenzener.
In addition, Fr. Riepe was a founding member of the John Archer Society, made up of individuals that include Upper Chesapeake in their wills.
According to Fr. Riepe’s will, $596,704.70, the same donated to JC, was given to Harford Day, the largest gift ever given to the school. The donation went into their capital campaign and was used to build a new building on campus, consisting of a multipurpose space, two new science labs, and an English classroom.
“His gift shared his long term commitment to Harford Day and to independent education,” said Director of Advancement Donna Decker.
Fr. Ripe taught Latin at Harford Dayand served on their Board from 1990-1999.
“This gift from his estate was a wonderful gift, but he supported the school for years. He had a very strict approach to education and we appreciated that here at Harford Day,” said Decker.
In 2005, Fr. Riepe gave a “major gift” to the school, according to Decker, to create the “Charles K. Riepe Endowment Fund,” used to “send teachers to conferences. Many teachers have benefited.”
In addition, St. Sebastian’s received $110,620.61. According to Linda Panetta of the Development Office, “The final decision of how the entire amount will be used has yet to be determined, but it will most likely be used for financial aid.”
On the JC campus, Fr. Riepe maintained a similar influence.
President Richard O’Hara said, “He was, for so many years, a legend and an icon, and he represented John Carroll.”
In addition to his $596,704.70 donation to the “The Reverend Charles K. Riepe Scholar Athlete Endowment Fund,” Fr. Riepe also left his chalice and his hand carved wooden crucifix, from Innsbank, Austria, to “be hung in the sacristy of the chapel,” according to his will.
Throughout his career, Fr. Riepe served in a variety of roles at the school, including the first chaplain and first head of the religion department (1964, 2002), the second Principal (1968), the first President (1971, 1976), and trustee (1993-1996, now emeritus) on the Board of Trustees.
“He provided a lot of guiding vision and cared deeply about the school and the students. I knew him long enough to get a feel for his love of John Carroll, and his great interest, even when poor health prevented him from being here. He still enjoyed the times, even in his later years, where he could come out and bless a team,” said O’Hara.
According to a Baltimore Sun article, Fr. Riepe’s wealth was a result of family inheritance, as well as positive business practices on the part of his father, Joseph Creighton Riepe. Creighton Riepe was a leader in the selling of bonds to fund the construction of the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, among others.
Additional reporting by Katie Clarke.
Kate Froehlich can be reached for comment at email@example.com.