Legacy Stories

Mom and daughter hugging

Each gift is an act of lasting generosity.

Every family or individual who chooses to make a planned gift or endowment to Dignity Health Foundation - East Valley has a story behind their act of kindness. Here you can read a few of these legacy stories. Inspired by what you see? Please contact us to learn more about how you can be a part of our legacy society.

Althoff Family – a Legacy of Service

After years of volunteering for Chandler Regional Medical Center, David and P.J. Althoff continued their service and giving through a legacy gift to the Foundation.  They had the vision and made the generous act to invest in life-saving equipment, services and education for the future. 

Following in his father's footsteps, David became a board member of the hospital's foundation in 1973.  Both of David's parents were involved in fundraising and helping to build the initial hospital.  When David retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1972, his father was ready to retire from the board and asked David to become involved. Which he did, and continued his service on the community board until 1999.  During his 26 years of service, including the chairmanship for 9 years, David thoroughly enjoyed his work, the people and the dedication of those he worked with to build a new hospital to meet the needs of the rapidly-growing Chandler area.   David used his experience as a real estate broker, to negotiate the new location with the city and selecting the company to build the new hospital. For him, it was almost a full-time job working with the contractors on a daily basis until the doors opened.  

David's beloved wife P.J., who has now passed on, was semi-famous in our community for being among the entourage who made the walk from the old hospital to the new one.  She was the last to enter the building as everyone applauded and P.J. told everyone that the Althoffs really felt like it was their hospital – a sentiment the Chandler Regional Medical Center team hopes to continue today. 

While she was alive, P.J. volunteered in the hospital gift shop and the information desk donating more than 15,000 hours of service! For years, she hand-sewed stuffed animals that were distributed to thousands of children admitted to the emergency department or to the hospital for surgery.   P.J.'s infectious smile is certainly missed.  

Despite both growing up in Illinois, the Althoffs finally met in 1950 at Arizona State University. It was love at first sight they say. Together they raised 5 children, although P.J. often took on the job single-handedly as Davidl had 20 years of active service including 1,080 combat missions in Vietnam. During his second tour to Vietnam, he received the 1968 Marine Aviator of the Year award.  In fact he earned over 76 medals, flew 26 different types of aircraft and was shot down 4 times.  You can find him in the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame as well as the Veterans Hall of Fame.   He would certainly be included in a Chandler Regional Medical Center Hall of Fame.  

Martells – a Dynamic Duo

When Gene Martell was alive, he was asked why they wished to leave a legacy for Chandler Regional Hospital and he stated matter-of factly, that it seemed like a good idea to promote a high level of healthcare in the Southeast Valley. Gene and Pat Martell were a team and married for over 46 years, yet they have been friends since first grade in Midland Pennsylvania - where his family owned a clothing store and her dad was a superintendent at the steel mill.  

In high school, Pat was a cheerleader and Gene played three sports, going onto a football scholarship at Notre Dame. Pat spent two years at Grove City College and then worked at Mellon Bank and Rockwell Manufacturing. In 1956, Gene received his bachelor's degree in finance and English and was offered a professional football contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Instead he elected to attend graduate school at the University of Toledo where he was a graduate assistant and football coach. He graduated with a master's degree in guidance counseling and administration.  

It was during the graduate school years that Gene and Pat were married. After receiving his degree, Gene coached football at Toledo University followed by a stint as counselor and principal at a Junior High School. Two years were spent as director of education for the Ottawa Job Corps and then as a career counselor at SUNY Baffalo, soon becoming the director.  Together they had three children and seven grandchildren. It was while visiting their son at the Air Force Base at Williams Field that they decided to retire to Arizona and Sun Lakes was lucky enough to welcome them in 1996.  

Both have been avid volunteers. Pat worked at the University of Buffalo and also volunteered with the American Red Cross.  She has been an active member of the Chandler Regional Medical Center volunteer team and together they served as co-President of the volunteer board.  Gene was also a Lions Club and United Way volunteer. After serving in leadership of the volunteer board, he also became President of the Arizona Association of Hospital Volunteers. For many years you could see them both volunteering and fundraising at the hospital golf tournament.  

Gene is sorely missed. Pat and her family are glad his legacy will live on in the higher standard of healthcare in which he chose to invest so much of his time and treasure.  

Sallie and Paul Brown – Giving Entreprenuers

Paul and Sallie first met in Connecticut in 1955 and they celebrated over 49 years of marriage before Paul passed on. They ran a ski lodge, restaurant and shops stores in snowy Vermont before relocating to sunny Sun Lakes in 2001, to be near their son Sam who lived in Casa Grande. They had the best of both worlds visiting daughter Wendy in Cape Cod each summer. By training Paul was a process engineer and served in Korea.  Sallie was a teacher and also a substance abuse education specialist.  Always they were active community members wherever they resided. 

For Sallie, her history of volunteering – from running a blood bank to hospital pediatrics – was fostered by her parents and has carried through to her own children. She continues to support the Casa Grande Alliance and the Sun Lakes Rotary despite her own health issues.  Paul was a Rotarian and Paul Harris Fellow, and also  the President of the Sun Lakes Community Foundation.  

For Paul, among his proudest accomplishments was opening the Robson Sun Lakes Library in October of 2004. He was chairman of the Library Community Foundation, the committee that raised over $1 million dollars to ensure a tax-free library in their community.  Paul was also a supporter of the nursing staff at Chandler Regional and hoped to lead this fundraising effort before he passed on.  

Sallie took up Paul's request and asked the Foundation to help her set up a charitable gift annuity (CGA) in Paul's honor. This CGA allows donors to convert a highly appreciated asset into lifetime income, reducing income taxes with a charitable income tax deduction, and reducing or eliminating estate taxes. Sallie funded her CGA to the Foundation with a gift of appreciated stock, which not only enabled her to name a room on the 4th floor in Paul's honor, but also realize a savings from capital gains taxes. 

"Because we are more fortunate than a lot of other people in the world, we need to give back some of our good fortune," Sallie explains.  And that's what the Browns were generous enough to do. By sharing some of their good fortune with our Foundation, the Brown family has given back to the many who will benefit from high quality care at Chandler Regional Medical Center.