Leaving a Legacy – the Mary Ann Indra Story

Mary Ann Indra was a bread baker, a world traveler, a Stephen's Minister, a Lion's Club Member, and a seamstress. Mary Ann enjoyed giving her time, talents, and treasures to those who were in need. Since 1977, Mary Ann shared her talents with the Grand Island Public Schools as an Educational and Visual Consultant for the Central Nebraska Support Service Program. Through her work, Mary Ann helped children with visual impairments succeed in school and, therefore, succeed in life. Those who knew her well describe her as a strong advocate for all children especially those with special needs that needed her the most.

In February 2001, Mary Ann died of sudden heart failure. She was only 49. However, as Mary Ann's parents and friends were quick to say, Mary Ann had spunk. Her generous, selfless giving to those who most needed her help did not end. After Mary Ann's death, her parents Orville and Catherine Indra made a very special gift. The Indra's gifted Mary Ann's house to the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation in a reserved life estate. The reserved life estate status allowed Mary Ann's parents to live in her home throughout the remainder of their lives. Although the Indras passed away in 2003 and 2004 they were able to see the beginning of Mary Ann's Legacy.


Gifts Transformed to Legacies

Knowing that additional educational facilities were needed to provide opportunities for children with special needs, the School District quickly matched the Indra's gift with a high impact project, one that would be sure to please Mary Ann. The District used the gift of Mary Ann's house as security to purchase the land across the street from Grand Island Senior High on the corner of Lafayette and Prospect streets. The property was razed to make way for new development.

Construction on a 2,700 square foot home on the property began in the fall of 2003. The home is used to teach students with special needs functional independent living skills in a real environment. The house is also home to the transitional living program for special needs students ages 19-21. The facility opened in the fall of 2004.

Not only will Mary Ann's legacy of helping special children succeed live on with this functional home, but also, other students at Senior High who would not have normally come into contact with Mary Ann benefited. The students in the drafting classes submitted design ideas and had the opportunity to design a fully functional and yet handicap accessible home. The construction technology students built this one-of-a-kind home to meet the accessibility expectations and learned first hand the challenges of meeting these special building requirements.

As Mary Ann's coworkers and friends sorted through her things, they found mittens, shoes, and other items that were intended for her students. Kathy McFarland recalled that "Mary Ann was so generous and thoughtful, she would buy things that her students needed." However, Mary Ann's mother Catherine was quick to point out that she and her husband Orville "never doubted what Mary Ann was thinking." Catherine also recalled Mary Ann sharing her feelings on accessibility for all students, "They should build a facility that all kids can use," Mary Ann would say. Because of Orville and Catherine's gift, Mary Ann's dream of a fully accessible facility that all kids can use, has come true.

Mary Ann Indra Endowed Fund

Provides eyeglasses or camps to visually impaired students.

Indra House Endowed Fund

Provides updates or ongoing maintenance of the Indra Transitional Learning Center facility.

Indra Special Education Training Endowed Fund

Provides staff training to help serve special needs students.