When Linda Klaasmeyer lost her husband, Keith, she knew she wanted to do something in his honor.
She thought about his favorite cause: The World-Herald's Goodfellows fund.
“It was the one charity he felt strongly about because all the money went to the people who needed it,” not to administrative costs, she said.
The couple had donated to the fund for many years, and Linda thought it would be fitting to continue the tradition. So even though she no longer lives in Omaha much of the year, she still sends in a gift from her home in Naples, Fla.
This year she donated $500 to the fund, which provides one-time emergency aid and holiday meal vouchers to disadvantaged people in the Omaha area.
Linda was born and raised in Omaha, got married here and worked with her husband at his heavy highway construction company. They spent winters in Naples and started living there year-round in 1997.
Keith died in 1998. The Klaasmeyers had been married for 35 years.
Linda has made another important contribution to honor her husband.
In 2000 she gave $500,000 to create the Keith W. Klaasmeyer Chair in Engineering and Technology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, her husband's alma mater. One of her sons and a grandson are also in the construction business.
Linda still has an apartment in Omaha and says she has too many friends here to cut ties. She also has businesses and farms in western Nebraska, she said.
She's sure her husband would be pleased that she still supports Goodfellows. She's a fan, too.
“I think it's excellent,” she said of the charity. “I received so much from Omaha my whole life. I love doing something in return.”