by Long Hwa-shu
A selfless Waukegan woman who inherited a house from a retired Lake County News-Sun employee has donated it to the Affordable Housing Corp. of Lake County instead of keeping it for herself or selling it to enrich herself.
The three-bedroom single family house at 920 North Avenue in Waukegan belonging to Mary H. Lockhart, who for many years worked as secretary to the newspaper’s editor, has been sold for $130,000 by the non-profit organization dedicated to provide affordable housing to the needy in Lake County.
I decided to donate the house willed to me by May (Mary Lockhart) to the Affordable Housing Corp. of Lake County because I’m familiar with it and liked the way they run the organization and how they have helped the community.” – Marilynn Moisio.
The proceeds will be used as seed money to buy another property for a qualifying home owner, according to the organization known as AHC.
Mary, known simply as May for those who knew her, had willed her cherished home to Marilynn Moisio, her life-long friend. May, who was never married, died July 10, 2015 at the age of was 92. Marilynn and her husband, Dennis, lived a few blocks away from her. In her final years, the Moisios became her primary care-takers.
They first met at the First Congregational United Church of Christ where May taught Sunday school, sang in the choir and participated in the women’s Bible study. May, the only child of her parents and a graduate of Waukegan High School, also sang in the Waukegan Philharmonic Choir. They became good friends.
“I decided to donate the house willed to me by May (Mary Lockhart) to the Affordable Housing Corp. of Lake County because I’m familiar with it and liked the way they run the organization and how they have helped the community,” said Marilynn, a long-time community advocate and volunteer.
The house with its original woodwork intact was well-kept and clean, she added.
Marilynn was appointed in 1975 to the Lake County Community Development Commission, now the Housing & Community Development Commission, on which she served for 32 years. In 2001 she received the William F. Krueger III affordable housing advocacy award from the Lake County Affordable Commission. Dennis, her husband, has served on the board of the Habitat for Humanity.
At an open house held Thursday afternoon held by AHC at May’s former home, Marilynn reminisced their friendship and spoke movingly of her memories of a lost friend.
“She was very frugal but a very giving person. She lived in the house alone for 14 years with Princess, her cat, after her mother died,” said Marilynn, adding, “She will be thrilled to know that the house will be owner-occupied instead of being rented.
The house has been sold to a Waukegan couple for $130,000, according to Rob Anthony, AHC chief executive officer. They will move in in May.
The proceeds, he said, will be used to purchase another property which will be rehabilitated and sold to people with low or moderate income in need of housing. Anthony said AHC has spent nearly $50,000 to upgrade the house with new windows and doors. The kitchen and the two bathrooms were remodeled.
“We just keep recycling the proceeds to provide housing for the hard working families,” said Anthony who spoke at a recent Lake County Property Investors Association meeting.