On May 15, 2018, Sophia Zetmeir invited her closest friends to share in a special farewell event hosted by the Parsons Area Community Foundation, Labette Community College Foundation, and the Gary Wall Family. This dinner was a tribute to Sophia as a dear friend as well as to thank her for the innumerable enhancements she, and her husband the late Sonny Zetmeir, provided for the Parsons community. She is moving to the Kansas City area where she will not only be close to her three daughters and grandchildren, but also to her two brothers.
In the early 1970’s Sonny and Sophia moved to Parsons for Sonny to work in his parents’ cabinetry manufacturing business, Grandview Products. During this time they raised three daughters, purchased the business, and built it into a nationwide kitchen cabinet supplier. Working long hours and with many personal sacrifices, this business became a great success financially and the Zetmeirs munificently gave back to the community donating cabinets to a number of local churches, schools, and libraries. In addition, for years they co-sponsored the annual 4th of July firework display at Marvel Park and have been exceptionally generous to Labette Community College, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, the Stella Wells Christmas Basket program, and the Parsons Area Community Foundation.
In 2013, Sophia established the Zetmeir Family Fund at the Parsons Area Community Foundation (PACF). There is an interesting story behind this fund. From 2006, until his demise in 2013, Sonny served as the PACF board president. Also during a portion of that time, he served as chairman for the campaign steering committee for the Labette Community College Health Science Building, kicking that off with a significant pledge from he and Sophia. To meet this pledge, the Zetmeirs established a fund at the Parsons Area Community Foundation named the Sonny and Sophia Zetmeir Designated Fund for the LCC Capital Campaign. This campaign spanned a period of five years, and each year the Zetmeirs contributed a portion of their total pledge to the fund held at PACF. During this time, the contributions to the PACF fund were invested, and at the culmination of the campaign had earned an additional $97,085. Once construction for the Health Science Building commenced, the total contribution was distributed to Labette Community College. The earnings, however, had been designated to remain with PACF. Sophia then established the Zetmeir Family Fund using those earnings as the initial gift to this fund.
The Zetmeir Family Fund is an endowed fund. There is no access to the principal; grants are made solely from the investment earnings. It is also an unrestricted fund, allocating decision making for annual grants to the PACF board of directors. Since the fund’s inception in 2013, it has already provided over $20,000 in grants to local schools and organizations, and this is only the beginning. Year after year this fund will give back to our community through the annual grants program provided by PACF.
The Parsons Area Community Foundation is so grateful to Sonny and Sophia Zetmeir and hope their story will inspire others to see all the possibilities for giving back to make a difference.