Legacy Society Member Stories

“We’ve been blessed. There’s no question.” 

They consider themselves blessed. That is why Dr. Frederick “Fritz” Parker and his wife Ginny have included the Upstate Foundation in their estate plans.

An emeritus professor of surgery at Upstate Medical University and one of the institution’s most beloved and highly respected physicians, Dr. Parker’s career at Upstate began in 1971 during the early days of modern cardiac surgery. In the subsequent 30 years, Dr. Parker pioneered the cardiac surgery department, training countless residents and fellows, which led to his eventual appointment as chief of the cardiothoracic division, and later, chair of the Department of Surgery.

Ginny has also impacted the lives of countless young people through a long career in education and the arts. She is the co-founder and co-director of the Kynda Montessori School.

The giving history of the Parkers to the Upstate Foundation began nearly four decades ago and will continue on into perpetuity with the bequest in their will. In the years between their first gift and most recent legacy gift, the Parkers have generously named rooms in the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and Upstate Cancer Center, and contributed to a wide variety of Foundation funds, including an endowed lectureship in cardiothoracic surgery named in Dr. Parker’s honor. They attend Upstate’s Gala every year and have supported Upstate University Hospital’s annual fund since its inception in 1997.

Dr. Parker is equally as generous with his time. He is a longtime member of the Foundation’s board of directors; for 18 years he has helped guide the Foundation, serving as an officer including chairman, and sitting on numerous committees. Dr. Parker has always been an advocate for Foundation causes, and accepted leadership roles in the Foundation’s capital campaigns for the Children’s Hospital and Cancer Center.

“Our hope is that our gift will continue to strengthen Upstate and hopefully serve as an inspiration to others who are considering their own legacies,” Ginny said.

“I want to invest in the lives and health of children.”  

It’s no wonder, then, that Dr. Victoria Meguid – who has been a powerful force for pediatric care at Upstate Medical University since 1992 – has made the Upstate Foundation a beneficiary of her retirement plan.
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Charitable gift annuity benefits both donors and Upstate  

“It’s terrific! You can have your cake and eat it, too.” This is how Dr. Michael Ratner and his wife Rissa describe their latest philanthropic endeavor – a charitable gift annuity through the Upstate Foundation.

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A legacy given in love will benefit tomorrow’s patients

“She and I were one. What they did for her, they did for me.” The appreciation is evident in Jack Gorham’s voice when he talks about the “angelic” way Upstate University Hospital physicians, nurses, physician assistants and other staff treated his wife Colleen throughout her 17-year journey with cancer.

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Legacy gift reflects love for community

A legacy gift as part of Jim and Ceme Curley’s estate plan is just one more step in an enduring relationship with the Upstate Foundation. 

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A legacy that inspires

“Your legacy is how you’ve led your life and how you’ve influenced someone else,” said Molly King, who added to her legacy in this community by including the Upstate Foundation in her estate plans.

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Former longtime Upstate physicians help children and families through legacy gift

“Leaving Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital as a beneficiary in our will was an easy decision for us,” says Dr. Richard Sills, former director of the Dr. William J. Waters Center for Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders, and Dr. Irene Sills, former professor of pediatrics, pediatric endocrinologist at Upstate University Hospital.

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Sick children helped by retired nurse’s planning and commitment

When Elizabeth “Betty” Runkle created the gift annuity, she remarked, “The health profession has given me so much. I’m glad to have the opportunity to pay it back in a small way.” Read more…


Lifetimes of service inspire a legacy of hope

John and Mell Gleason’s professional lives have been devoted to the not-for-profit sector. Read more…