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January 4, 2006

Gifts ensure that the beauty of CW's gardens will continue in perpetuity

Gifts from several donors ensure that five of Colonial Williamsburg’s gardens will continue to grow for future generations. Through gift opportunities in the Campaign for Colonial Williamsburg, five gardens—the Alexander Craig House, Custis Tenement, David Morton, Orlando Jones and Palmer House Gardens--recently have been endowed by donors who appreciate their beauty and wish to ensure their continuation in perpetuity. Additional garden endowment opportunities range from $200,000 to $2 million. The generosity of each donor will be recognized with a small sign within the garden.

Sylvia Boecker and Michael Jackson of Williamsburg established an endowment for the Alexander Craig House Garden. Delighted and grateful for the opportunity to live just a mile from the Historic Area, the couple decided to endow the garden for guests to enjoy in perpetuity. “Wherever we travel, we visit the gardens,” Boecker said. “Which garden to endow was not a difficult
decision. Before moving to Williamsburg, each visit included buying colonial-style cookiesat the Raleigh Tavern Bakery. The bakery overlooks the Alexander Craig Garden. When we met the gardener and the volunteer gardeners who maintain the Craig garden, the
decision was made.”

“We joined the donor societies, the Burgess and Goodwin Societies, five years ago and two years ago joined another donor society, the Raleigh Tavern Society,” Jackson said. “We consider it an honor and privilege to live here because of Colonial Williamsburg, the fine people in the organization, and the beauty and architecture of the Historic Area.”

East Lyme, Conn., residents and Raleigh Tavern Society members Joanne and Ron Luich and family are providing support for the Custis Tenement Garden on Duke of Gloucester Street. The garden, created by noted landscape architect Arthur A. Shurcliff in the 1930s, is known as the “flag garden” because of its 16 triangular-shaped parterre beds that form four crosses within the rectangular bed.

Joanne’s interest in historical gardens brought her to the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn., where she now chairs the docent council. A retired nurse, she is a member of the Connecticut Master Gardener Association. Jo has attended Colonial Williamsburg’s Garden Symposia in the past. Ron, an engineer, sold their medical supply business in 2001, but continues to start new businesses and develop new products. They have two adult sons and several grandchildren. They first visited Colonial Williamsburg in 1987, became members of the Burgesses in 1998 and upgraded to the Raleigh Tavern Society in 2001.

Carolyn and Jack Asher of Ambler, Pa., have designated the David Morton Garden for endowment support. Located at the corner of Waller and York Streets, the Morton Garden is a symmetrical formal garden shaded by American hornbeam trees. “The beauty of Colonial Williamsburg is that it has something to offer everyone,” Carolyn said. “Gardens helped draw us in to the point where we eventually came to appreciate the broad focus of the organization. Once people become engaged, they are open to experience the many delights of the Historic Area and the educational message of Colonial Williamsburg. We hope the David Morton Garden and all the other gardens continue to serve as an inspiration to others.”

The Ashers came to Williamsburg on their honeymoon, and their love of American history in its many forms--historic preservation, the decorative arts, early maps and re-enactments-- continues. Since 1987, Carolyn has attended Antiques Forum regularly. She and Jack joined Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections in 2000 and Raleigh Tavern Society in 2001 and have been members of Innkeepers, an advanced giving level in the Raleigh Tavern Society, since 2003. Jack and his brother, Robert, a fellow Raleigh Tavern Society member, operate Asher Chocolates, a family business established in Philadelphia in 1892.

John Cazier of Corona del Mar, Calif., chose to endow the Orlando Jones Garden to honor the memory of his wife, Carol Jones Cazier, who died in June 2004. “Carol loved flowers and the beauty of Colonial Williamsburg. The Orlando Jones seems a good fit as a most meaningful memorial for Carol.”

Carol made gifts to the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library’s collections and also funded publication costs of “The Interpreter,” the Foundation’s magazine for its interpretive staff. John and Carol became members of the Colonial Williamsburg Burgesses in 1990 and Colonial Williamsburg Associates in 1997.

The Bernard G. Rethore family from Paradise Valley, Ariz., has endowed the Palmer House Garden. “Williamsburg is a national treasure,” Rethore said. “Our family believes strongly in Colonial Williamsburg’s mission. This was a family decision as we all want to help sustain the beauty of the Historic Area forever and provide a tranquil corner where guests can reflect on the rich history that has preceded them.”

A graduate of Yale and the Wharton School of Business, Rethore is chairman emeritus of Flowserve Corp. and serves on several corporate boards. A donor since 1987, he became a member of the Colonial Williamsburg Burgesses in 1991.

For information about gift opportunities, contact Sarah Houghland, director of Development Services, toll-free at (888) 293-1776, via e-mail at or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121