Star Journal Report
A longtime champion of Rhinelander and its youth is going through the process of closing its books. The James E. Cleary Foundation was created in 2003 and since then has granted money to a variety of organizations that reflected the Foundation’s mission to benefit downtown Rhinelander, help revitalize the community and support the youth.
Tom Cleary established the Foundation in his father’s name. James Cleary was a Rhinelander business owner who started Cleary’s Creamery and later developed one of the city’s first hotels, the Claridge, with his son, Tom. The Foundation intention was to make the final distributions upon the passing of Tom’s sister, Janet DeByle, who died in September at the age of 83.
Foundation board member Clyde Estabrook said in excess of $3 million has been donated to organizations including Rhinelander Ice Association, Rhinelander Area Food Pantry, Rhinelander city improvements, including parking and building improvements, Rhinelander Hodag Sports Club, Rhinelander Historical Society, Rhinelander Humane Society, Hodag Little League, Rhinelander Community Foundation and the Rhinelander Nativity of Our Lord Church and school.
“We are proud we can help make such a meaningful impact for Rhinelander,” said Tom DeByle, Janet’s son and Tom Cleary’s nephew. “We believe the Foundation’s donations were in programs that will have a lasting impact on Rhinelander.”