Gord Ruley, one of the founding members of the Mission Community Foundation, presents a cheque for $2.7 million on behalf of the Heptonstall estate to foundation board member Shelley Carter. / Kevin Mills Photo

Gord Ruley, one of the founding members of the Mission Community Foundation, presents a cheque for $2.7 million on behalf of the Heptonstall estate to foundation board member Shelley Carter. / Kevin Mills Photo

Mission Community Foundation receives $2.7 million from the estate of Hatzic’s Heptonstall family

Jack Heptonstall’s gift will help young people for generations

Mission Community Foundation has been given an amazing gift. On Wednesday night, during the annual Bursary and Scholarship Awards presentations, it was announced that the foundation has received a donation of $2.7 million from the Heptonstall estate, with more to come.

Gord Ruley, one of the founding members of the Mission Community Foundation, made the announcement calling the Heptonstalls “legends in the Hatzic area.”

The Heptonstall family moved to the area in 1918 from Burnaby, in search of more acreage. Jack Heptonstall, who had a sister named Barbara and a brother named George, owned a beautifully maintained farmhouse on over 120 acres.

On Oct. 28, 2019 Jack passed away at the age of 101. He lived in the same house for more than 73 years.

According to Ruley, the Heptonstall family loved the community.

“During the ‘48 flood the Heptonstalls put out their farm property, at the tip of Stave Lake, to be a base of operations for the army, took in refugees and many stranded animals who lived there for quite some time,” Ruley said, noting the land was used for the same purpose again in 2021 after the atmospheric river.

Ruley told the crown that Jack’s last will and testament named Mission Community Foundation as the primary beneficiary. His property and machinery were to be sold and the proceeds donated to the foundation

“Now tonight, I can’t give you an exact amount of what the full donation will be, but it will be fairly large.”

He then presented a cheque for $2,727,000, with the promise of more to come.

After the presentation Ruley spoke to the Record about the donation.

“I suspect that the total of the donation to the foundation will be in excess of $4.5 million,” he said, adding it might be more, but they can’t say for sure at this time.

“There are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to selling property that they’ve owned since 1917.”

As one of the founding members of the foundation, Ruley said he is happy to have made the announcement.

“I never expected this. There have been bits and pieces of donations from various people, but nothing like this. This is amazing … Jack was an amazing individual. He wanted the Heptonstall name out there in the community forever. He had second cousins and third cousins and they were in the will as well, but not to the extent of the foundation. He had a real thing for the foundation. It’s awesome to see.”

While it is up to the board of directors to decide what to do with the donation, Ruley is sure of one thing.

“It’s going to benefit the young men and women in this community for generations to come.”