Longtime Volunteer Mary Ann Alexander Adds Estate Gift for “Lifelong Dream” of Peconic Bay Medical Center Expansion
Vincent Ortolani (Social Work Coordinator, Caregivers Center) with Mary Ann Alexander
It was in the 1980s that Mary Ann Alexander and her late husband Eric became quite familiar with the hospital that was then called Central Suffolk Hospital, making several visits to the ER with their “typically rambunctious” son. Since then, Eric served on the hospital board for 13 years and was board chairman for two, while Mary Ann ran the popular Polo Panache fundraiser. Mary Ann now serves as a coach in the Caregivers Center and is also on the board of the Peconic Bay Medical Center Foundation. In addition, she made a gift to the Foundation from Eric’s estate in 2012 and is also making a gift from her estate.
“Initially we became involved just because it was the hospital close to home,” says Mary Ann, who along with her husband attended Riverhead High School and has lived in town for most of her life. “But it became a love of our lives. We wanted to see the Medical Center grow so that nobody would have to leave the community for care.”
Their legacy gifts—which include current cash gifts and also bequests—are designated for expansion projects but otherwise are unrestricted (to be used as the hospital leadership sees fit).
“The gift I am giving is for the new tower,” Mary Ann says of the critical care tower that is nearing completion. “My gift is for the physical plant, the building of the hospital. As they say in that movie (Field of Dreams), ‘Build it and they will come.’ ”
Three generations of Alexanders!
Mary Ann has lived in the town of Riverhead since she was 12 years old. She studied accounting after high school and worked for an outdoor advertising company and a bank, but mostly she raised four children in the community, married to Eric for 42 years. He studied mortuary science at SUNY Farmingdale and then worked for the Reginald H. Tuthill Funeral Home for almost 40 years, eventually becoming the owner. When he became ill, Mary Ann directed the funeral home for ten years. Now she is retired, enjoying her six grandchildren.
All along she has been volunteering for the Medical Center. For six years she ran the Polo Panache, a fancy garden party and polo match that raised a lot of money during the 1990s. When that ended because they lost their playing field, she helped with the silent auction for the Spring Gala. When the Caregivers Center opened last year, she became one of the coaches—offering support and resources to family members of patients. And she serves on the Foundation board, helping with fundraising, and of course is a member of the Heritage Society for those who make estate gifts.
“We always need to keep updating our facilities, and this tower expansion is going to be beautiful,” Mary Ann says. “My husband and I never stopped our involvement, and now so much is coming to fruition. It’s amazing to see it develop to where it is today. This has been a lifelong dream.”