A generous heart, a modest lifestyle and a storybook romance led to a $100,000 donation to the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith to help working students.

The gift, from Sally Baum Frick, was just the last in long series of her meaningful gifts to the university.

Elvin Frick and Sally Baum Shumate were both widowed when they met at a Fred Astaire dance nearly 30 years ago. He was 62 and she was 57. Neither of them was looking for anything more than a good dance.

The woman Elvin Frick still calls “my Sally” was an excellent dancer. Although Frick didn’t make the same claim for himself, he did note that he grew up in New Orleans with sisters who insisted he dance with them. So the footwork was natural for the couple.

Knowing this, it might be tempting to see this as a case of love at first dance. But Frick says that’s not how things went. Instead he and Sally first developed a friendship that “deepened into a love story.”

When Elvin and Sally eventually married, he prayed to have 10 years with his new bride. They’d had more than 25 when Sally died in August, but that doesn’t make the separation any easier.

“I loved her so,” Elvin said simply.

During their time together, the Fricks led what Elvin calls a “modest life in a modest home.” That lifestyle and Elvin’s skill as a financial analyst helped to grow Sally’s investments, which included some Walmart stock from her father, Charles Baum.

Frick encouraged his wife to make gifts to family members and charities. When it came to charitable giving, Frick said with a smile, “Sally always went overboard.”

The $100,000 planned gift to UAFS will fund the Sally Baum Frick Working Students Scholarship. But over the course of the Fricks’ marriage, Sally Frick made annual gifts to support scholarships and the Season of Entertainment, and to purchase art and musical instruments. She made major gifts to the Charles and Nadine Baum Scholarship Endowment and the Cultural Arts Endowment and to name the student lounge in Windgate Art and Design.

“Sally Frick was a loving and beautiful member of the UAFS family for three decades,” UAFS Chancellor Paul Beran said. “Janice and I used to go dancing with Sally and Elvin when we first came to Fort Smith; we have many fond memories of that time. All of us at UAFS were saddened by her passing, but we are so proud that her legacy will live on through the many students she will help with this scholarship.”

Frick is clear that his role in Sally’s philanthropy was purely advisory.

“I was a big supporter of Sally and whatever she wanted to do,” Frick said. “My job was to advise her so she’d have the wherewithal to do all the wonderful things her heart told her to do.”


Article by Judi Hansen, Advancement Editor
Date Posted: 
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
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