The stories told below speak volumes about lives well-lived, plans well-made, and charitable outcomes that will ensure a future for us all that can truly be “Better Than Normal.”

Bill and Elaine Henry: "A Legacy of Caring"

Bill and Elaine HenryHartford HealthCare has played a vital role in many of our lives, from the professionals who cared for us as infants to the first responders there for us when emergency strikes. Dr. William “Bill” Henry devoted his professional career to caring for children, and on his final journey home, received the same high standard of care from one of his former patients.


Roger Klene

Roger Klene"I will always be indebted to the doctors at Hartford Hospital for their skill and caring," says Roger.  He and his wife, Debbie Klene, have given consistently and generously for years. The plans they have made serve as an excellent example for ensuring a stronger future for the hospital. Learn more »


Marjorie Butcher

Marjorie ButcherMarjorie Butcher, the first female faculty member at Trinity College, is remembered for her generosity of spirit and her love for Hartford Hospital. Her faithful support of the hospital spanned decades. The endowment fund she created through thoughtful planning will perpetuate her support for many more decades to come. Learn more »


Janet Rice

Janet RiceDuring her lifetime Janet Rice was devoted to Hartford Hospital. For nearly 20 years, she was a volunteer at the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center, serving at the reception desk. In gratitude for the care her husband Ned received at the Cancer Institute, Janet and Ned were able to leave a bequest that was five times the amount of their total lifetime giving.  Learn more »


Frederick S. and Grace E. Bliss 

In 1972, the hospital completed its first major addition of the modern era, the Bliss Wing, which was made possible by a substantial bequest to the hospital thanks to the generous estate planning of Frederick S. and Grace E. Bliss.  Learn more »

Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center

Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center —In 1998, the hospital’s mental health division, the Institute of Living, received the single largest gift in the hospital’s history. A bequest of $20 million from the Holton Family Trust was augmented by the Olin Family and other donors to develop a center for schizophrenia research… the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center opened in 2003.

Patrick O'Reilly

Patrick O’Reilly—An Irish immigrant, who served with General Custer and was wounded and captured in the Civil War, O’Reilly was mustered out and returned to Hartford, partially-disabled and in poor health. O’Reilly was admitted to Hartford Hospital, where he received good care but eventually died. With no family members to consider, he bequeathed everything to the hospital…counting his back pay and other soldier’s benefits, the hospital realized $200 from his generosity. Patrick O’Reilly’s $200 bequest in 1865 was the equivalent of $3,150 in 2019 dollars.

David Watkinson

David WatkinsonDavid Watkinson — In addition to purchasing and donating the land for the new Hartford Hospital, when Watkinson died in 1857, his estate left $40,000 to the new hospital—providing the resources needed to finish construction, open the hospital to patients, and establish an endowment that would be a major source of operating income for years.

As early as 1862, the hospital’s directors published a bequest form in the Annual Report and every year they urged the well-to-do citizens of Hartford to visit the hospital, see the good work that was being done there, and remember it, either in life or in their wills. These measures were largely successful. By the decade’s end, the endowment had grown to include 17 major trusts...allowing the endowment to cover 46% of the hospital’s operating costs. Members of many of Hartford’s wealthiest families included the hospital in their wills, thereby sustaining the overall endowment, as did people of more modest means.

The 1854 Society recognizes and honors every person who has planned a gift for the benefit of Hartford Hospital, regardless of your “means.”  Simply sharing with us the fact that those plans have been put in place can qualify you for membership in the 1854 Society. 

All gifts are subject to our Gift Acceptance Policy, so we encourage you to talk with us about your plans in advance to make sure that we can help you assure the best possible outcome for all parties concerned.