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Home  |  News  |  Widow of well-known philanthropist in need

Widow of well-known philanthropist in need
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The family of a Midlands man who touched thousands of lives is having a tough time making ends meet.

John Fling was a grassroots philanthropist until he died 5 years ago.

Friends and family say they're now worried about John's 90-year-old wife, Jane, who is struggling with health issues that wiped out her finances and could force her out of her nursing home.

The Fling's century-old home located on River Drive is up for sale. If the it sells, it will go a long way towards straightening out a difficult financial position for the widow of a man who really never cared much about money unless he was giving it away.

Before John's death in 2007, he dedicated his life to caring for those who didn't have much.

John spent year after year collecting clothing, food, household goods, and money, then handing it over to the poor, blind, and elderly during events like his annual Christmas shopping sprees. He gave much of his money away because he had impaired vision after a hunting accident early in life, and knowing poverty first-hand because of being one of 19 children.

"John never had really anything much for himself," said long-time friend Clayton Ingram.

"He had his truck. He had a few sets of clothes. And everything else he gave away. Any money that he had. Any food that he had. I've literally seen him give the clothes off his back -- his jacket -- to someone who didn't have one."

Ingram and his wife, Valerie, say John probably never anticipated the money shortfall now facing Jane.

After two strokes, Jane is no longer able to live at home.

Extended hospital and nursing home stays have left the family with more than $24,000 in unpaid bills.

"I don't think John ever really cared about materialistic things, said Valerie. "I think he would be very sad to know that Miss Jane is in this situation and I think sometimes you know we could all look to ourselves and say, 'Goodness, we wouldn't want that for a family member.' But we don't see the future. We don't know what that holds."

"I would hope that people would remember John from the past," Valerie added. "Miss Jane as well and look to themselves and see this as an opportunity to give back to someone who gave so much."

The Fling family says they are trying for a second time to see if Jane is eligible for Medicaid coverage, but as of today she is not.

Over the weekend, the family held a yard sale and sold just about everything in the house, collecting $5,800.

Earlewood Baptist Church is also accepting donations to help the Flings.

Son Richard says the family was warned about a month ago that Jane could be evicted from her nursing home if the bills are not paid.

Source: http://www.wistv.com/story/17141554/widow-of-well-known-philanthropist-in-need

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