Foundation & Development

Vilma Fay and Lionel Kinney

Supporting Faculty

Haines Family Fund for Regional Studies: Tribute to a Family

The Haines Family Fund for Regional Studies was established by Vilma Fay (Valentine) Kinney and Lionel Kinney to honor Vilma’s grandmother, mother and uncle. In her own words, Kinney “believes in education, preservation, and in honoring ancestors.” Kinney is doing all three by endowing the Haines Family Fund, designed to support research and publication on the history and development of western Illinois, home of the Haines family.

Vilma’s mother, Very Fay, was born into a large, loving family just outside of Colchester, Illinois. Her grandmother, Lucy Cox Haines, was “a wonderful mother and grandmother, mild, a strong women of her times. She lived from 1875 to 1954, and I want to create a tribute to her time on this planet.” Lucy and her husband James were parents to seven children, two died before adulthood and two had birth defects. According to Vilma, “my mother was the strongest of the seven children. She worked the farm right along with her brothers, plowing with (and racing) mules.” Vera also attended Western, graduating in 1925.

The Haines family grew up on the Marvel Bean Farm in what was known as the “Bean neighborhood,” and all the siblings attended the Bean school. The students in the one room schoolhouse grew up together and remained close their entire lives. Vilma’s uncle, Elzy, moved to Peoria and worked at ABC Washing Machine Company. He was a hard worker, but lived simply. His estate was left to his niece, Vilma Kinney. Western will be the beneficiary of an approximate $100,000 share of this estate to establish the Haines Family Fund.

Vilma Kinney is a trained dietitian, editor for the Human Ecology Study Group, and works with Harvard Medical School to establish funds for the archives of Dr. Theron Randolph. She loves historic preservation and has restored her mother’s Chinese influenced home in Peoria. Both she and Lionel, an engineer and musician, are actively involved in local history, culture, and science. “I love the modern age,” says Vilma, “but I’m curious about so many things now accessible on the computer; medicine, language, and history. I would like to see the research conducted in regional studies that I do not have time to do. With the Haines Family Fund, there is hope for the preservation of regional studies for the future. Kinney wishes to honor her family by putting the funds to work for a greater good. “The Haines family were strong, agriculturally minded people who lived a life typical of the family farm in the first part of the 20th century. It is a time that has been long forgotten in most parts of the country.”

“Western is honored to be the recipient of this generous gift,” says WIU president Al Goldfarb. “The Haines Family Fund will enable research crucial to the preservation of the unique culture of west central Illinois. We are grateful for this opportunity, and for the Kinney’s generosity and forethought.”