Phyllis Hanson, a longtime resident of the Bay Area and supporter of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, passed away in 2010. She was 87 years old. Although modest and frugal in life, Phyllis left behind a substantial estate which she designated entirely to charity. Packard Children’s is a grateful recipient of her remarkable generosity, along with several other organizations that serve children and animals.
Born in Mabel, Minn., Phyllis was the only daughter of the town banker. While attending universities in Minnesota and North Carolina, she developed a passion for music. In the 1940’s, she joined an all-female band that toured throughout the United States and Europe.
Phyllis made her way to California, where she decided to settle after falling in love with its natural beauty. While she remained a lifelong musician and found the time to provide trumpet and organ lessons to young students, she also pursued a career in real estate. In 1968, Phyllis bought her own house in the newly developing Niles neighborhood near Fremont, where she remained for 42 years.
When Phyllis began considering opportunities for philanthropic investment, she resolved to pay equal attention to her head and her heart. Although she had no children of her own, she had a deep love of children and understood the importance of medical institutions dedicated entirely to pediatric care and research.
Ray Midthun, a longtime family friend and financial advisor to Phyllis, accompanied her on several site visits as she evaluated different organizations. In 1985, after carefully reviewing her charitable options, Phyllis made her first gift to Packard Children’s.
“Phyllis was a woman with strong convictions and a sharp instinct,” says Ray. “She was profoundly touched by what she saw at Packard, and truly impressed with the standard of excellence demonstrated by the doctors, nurses, and caregivers.”
Phyllis remained an annual donor for the rest of her life, increasing her support to the Children’s Circle of Care level and consistently making gifts of highly appreciated securities. She also became a member of the Lucile Salter Packard Society, which recognizes individuals who include the Hospital in their estate plans. Her generous legacy gift will help sustain Packard’s ability to provide world-class medical care to children and expectant mothers.