The Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation has established the Bill Fendall Trust as an endowment for ongoing support of the Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden. William Gray (Bill) Fendall passed away on October 10, 2014, designating the Lee-Fendall as the sole beneficiary of his estate.
“Thanks to a generous gift, the Bill Fendall Trust provides a means to plan for capital expenditures through growth over time and build reserves to meet those future needs as they arise,” observed Dr. Patricia Sanders, President of the Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation. “With long-term sustainability assured, the Lee-Fendall is at last, after 40 years of operations, in a position to mount a credible capital campaign to address deferred maintenance and make facility improvements.”
Bill Fendall was a descendant of John Fendall, the older brother of Philip Richard Fendall who had the Lee-Fendall House built in 1785. Philip Fendall served with the American delegation to France during the Revolutionary War and was an early Alexandria civic leader. Bill Fendall grew up in Oregon. After his graduation from the University of Oregon, Bill joined the United States Air Force, served in the Pacific during World War II, and received a Purple Heart for his actions in the Korean War. Upon retirement from military service, Bill and his wife, Frances Elizabeth (Bette), returned to Oregon. Bill and Bette are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Bill was a long-time member of the Society of the Lees of Virginia and was a regular donor to the Lee-Fendall House. After the death of John L. Lewis, Bill and Bette considered purchasing the structure. That did not occur, but Bill continued to think affectionately of the Lee-Fendall House, as evidenced by his bequest.
“This endowment will not alleviate the necessity to continually raise funds for the operating expenses of the House and Garden,” explained Dr. Sanders. “What it does is significantly help to ensure that Lee-Fendall’s historic and educational mission can endure.”
To meet long-term needs, the principal of the Bill Fendall Trust will be invested conservatively for growth with the guidance of a professional money manager.