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Local entrepreneur launches publication dedicated to preserving life stories

Bringing people together to share their life stories is what entrepreneur Mike Stith, founder of One Legacy LLC, has been doing for two years. With the help of the Illinois Metro East Small Business Development Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Stith launched phase two of One Legacy’s mission: “The Family Historian,” in February.

stith mikeThe monthly journal will be distributed to care givers, care receivers and health-care professionals in medical offices and senior living communities across the St. Louis region.

Preserving real-life stories and experiences as told firsthand by those who lived them remains the focus and passion of One Legacy. In fact, the new publication’s tag line is “Each day has purpose. Every life has meaning.”

“’The Family Historian’ is a natural, purposeful extension of One Legacy LLC,” said Stith, an Edwardsville resident who has experienced life as a full-time caregiver for multiple family members. “The foundation of One Legacy is story sharing. Our monthly journal, which will be free to readers and supported by advertisers and sponsors, will inspire and encourage those who are going through medical issues of any kind or anyone interested in reading an inspirational story. The journal is also geared toward encouraging those who care for individuals in any way. The quality of the stories we’ve already received is astounding.”

In order to accommodate the quantity of stories One Legacy is receiving from all over the world, Stith is sharing them online at in addition to printing them in a hard-copy, 11 by 17, full-color edition.

“The stories people are sharing with us are truly captivating,” Stith said. “In the inaugural edition of ‘The Family Historian,’ there is a story of a St. Louis woman’s long-lost love affair with a famous actor. There’s also a story about an avid dog lover who searched the country for her pet for months. It illustrates the kindness and depth of the human spirit.”

According to Stith, those who do the telling, those who transcribe the stories and those who share the stories with others are all impacted by legacy sharing.

“The impact of listening to these stories is profound,” he said. “Whether the theme is about World War II, a long-lost relative, memories from a sporting event or a tale of loss, the stories real people share brings listeners and tellers together through a common bond.”

For no-cost business expertise in conjunction with launching “The Family Historian,” Stith turned to Jo Ann DiMaggio May, interim director and small business specialist at the Illinois Metro East Small Business Development Center. Stith and May began working together in February 2014 to fine-tune the business plan for One Legacy LLC.

“Jo Ann and the SBDC were instrumental in helping me prepare to successfully launch One Legacy two years ago,” Stith said. “It seemed logical to return to the SBDC for expertise on how to begin phase two, specifically “The Family Historian.”

May said assisting Stith is both professionally and personally rewarding.

“Mike Stith has worked diligently to create a valuable network of people and resources,” May said. “I am privileged to be part of his network and enjoy supporting Mike and his business endeavor. The human element of life connects us all. Mike has found a wonderful way to share this connection through story telling. One Legacy is a true treasure. I am confident that readers and advertisers will gravitate to the stories published in ‘The Family Historian’.”

To learn more about One Legacy and “The Family Historian,” contact Stith at or (618) 960-7252.

    From the Illinois Business Journal

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