WWII Veteran’s Lifelong Motto Fuels Family’s Legacy of Generosity

Lori RosehartNews You Can Use

99 years of life, 33 missions, a lead navigator for the 96th Bomb Group, a purple heart, an air medal, the first employee and now retired co-chairman of Behr Process Corporation, a husband, father, and grandfather. To say Jack Croul has witnessed a wealth of experiences is an understatement. For the last century, the World War II hero has lived by this motto: “Just do the right thing and think of other people.”

Jack & Kingsley Croul with their Farmers & Merchants Lifetime Achievement Award from OCF's 2024 Conference on Business & Ethics. Photo Credit: Kathleen Hurtt

Jack’s willingness to help others transformed into something much bigger when he created the Croul Family Foundation in 1997, which has since planted the seeds of generosity into his children and grandchildren and has blessed dozens of students with a Catholic education. By partnering with The Orange Catholic Foundation (OCF) for the last several years, the Croul Family Foundation has generously granted more than $1 million in Catholic school tuition assistance.

“He just felt really strongly that it was time to give back,” Jack’s wife, Kingsley Croul, said, “Jack’s created a great legacy.” Jack and Kingsley exchanged their wedding vows 25 years ago at St. John Vianney Chapel in Newport Beach. Jack converted to Catholicism a couple of years later. Kingsley explained, “that’s where he started the journey to give to the Catholic Church and the schools.”

Aligned with the Croul Family Foundation’s mission of helping the economically disadvantaged in Orange County, OCF ensures the funds go to support students at St. Anne School in Santa Ana, St. Joseph School in Santa Ana, St. Barbara School in Santa Ana, St. Justin Martyr School in Anaheim, and La Purisima School in Orange.

Jack’s son, Spencer Croul, recognized how blessing these children with an opportunity they may not have otherwise is life-changing: “The Catholic Church is not just about education. It’s about lifestyle, goodness, and Godliness being instilled into the younger generation and how that is positive for the world.”

Dustin & Spencer Croul at the Bishop's Reception in January 2024. The annual event celebrates both current and past CBE honorees. Photo Credit: OCF

Inspired by Jack’s generous heart, Spencer, his wife Susan, their children Dustin and Natalie, as well as Spencer’s brother, Brad, have become the second and third generations of the Foundation. “When pop created the Foundation, he was thinking legacy. Learning through giving is very rewarding. It’s character building in a very positive way. Through sustainability of the Foundation and bringing Dustin and Natalie both along, we certainly hope the legacy will continue.”

In June 2024, Jack, who is also a car and plane enthusiast and collector, will turn 100 years old. In recognition for his family’s commitment to giving back, the Croul Family Foundation was honored with the Farmers & Merchants Lifetime Achievement Award at OCF’s 21st Annual Conference on Business & Ethics on February 28, 2024. Click here to watch the award presentation.

If you want to make an impact like Jack and the Croul family but aren’t sure where to start, let The Orange Catholic Foundation help you! There are giving strategies you can apply to your home, business, IRA, stock, and other highly appreciated assets that will provide for you and your family—all while maximizing your tax savings and making a transformational impact in your parish community, at a Catholic school or other Catholic ministry. For more information, contact a member of OCF’s philanthropy team at (714) 282-3021 or [email protected]