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Vince and Liz Licare use love of family as inspiration to support St. Jude.
A man of few words and strong principles, Vince Licare still works full-time—with no immediate plans to retire—at the company he founded more than 40 years ago. The octogenarian is deeply committed to his family, and next to their photos on his office desk are pictures of kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“St. Jude has always been something Vince feels strongly about,” explains Liz, his wife of 24 years, who works in the business with him. “He sees the work they do and thinks it’s very worthwhile.”
Vince’s business is Midwest Diesel Service, a dealer in Detroit Diesel engine parts that provides service through- out southeast Missouri, including equipment for river and quarry work.
Giving to St. Jude is Vince’s way of sharing his good fortune. “I’ve been blessed and had a good family,” he says.
After giving generously to St. Jude for more than a decade, he donated highly appreciated stock to establish St. Jude charitable gift annuities for several of his siblings and their spouses. A charitable gift annuity provides payments for life, with a portion of the gift going to help the children of St. Jude. As the oldest brother, Vince has always looked out for his brothers and sisters, and he saw a great opportunity to help them and the children of St. Jude at the same time.
“He has a big heart and just wants to do what he feels is right,” says John Householter, the Licares’ senior philanthropic adviser at ALSAC, the organization that raises funds and awareness for St. Jude.
Vince grew up “on the hill”—an Italian neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri. His father was a meat cutter and his mother helped in the family store and raised their nine children.
Vince enlisted in the Navy during World War II and was stationed on a minesweeper, where he learned about diesel engines. After the war, he went to work for a Detroit Diesel franchise in St. Louis; after several promotions, Vince decided he could “do it better.” In 1968, he went out on his own.
Liz, a Kentucky native, has three children, and Vince has one surviving son, all from previous marriages. The couple is thrilled to have six grandchildren living near the 120-acre farm that is their home.
The Licares hope to make a trip to Memphis to tour the hospital sometime soon.
“Vince and I have a running joke that as soon as I show up to run his business for a few days, he’ll be able to take time off and visit St. Jude,” Householter says. Although wary of holding up his end of the bargain, Householter looks forward to showing the Licares the impact their generosity is having on the children of St. Jude.
Abridged from Promise, Summer 2013