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Memorial Foundation to benefit from $1 million hospital pledge


From Illinois Business Journal news services

Gary D. and Frances Heien of O’Fallon often talked about making charitable contributions from their estate. When the couple learned that Memorial Hospital East would be built so close to their hometown, Fran said they stopped talking and started planning.

heien franGary, who passed away in 2011 and Fran recently made a $1 million pledge to Memorial Foundation’s Capital Campaign Progress Rooted In Tradition. The main lobby of Memorial Hospital East will be named in their honor and serve as a legacy for generations to come.

“It is indeed our pleasure and gives me great satisfaction to support Memorial Hospital East,” Fran Heien (left) said.

Both graduated from O’Fallon Township High School. Gary graduated from Washington University while Fran graduated from Alton Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. The couple was married at O’Fallon United Church of Christ in 1961.

Gary was in tool steel sales before buying Ford Tool Steels, Inc. in St. Louis. Their daughter, Susan Gasser, now operates the company.

Fran worked as a registered nurse at Memorial Hospital Belleville before staying home to raise their two children, Gary, Jr., who passed away in 2012, and Susan. She went on to become a school nurse in O’Fallon for 14 years and then became an Auxiliary volunteer 26 years ago at Memorial Hospital Belleville. She continues her volunteer service to the hospital today.

She served on the Auxiliary Board as well as was a member of Memorial Foundation’s Board of Directors for several years.

“We certainly are extremely thankful to the Heiens for this generous gift to Memorial,” said Anne Thomure, Memorial Foundation’s executive director. “On behalf of our boards of directors and those we serve, I am deeply grateful for their commitment to Memorial and to the community.”

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