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Collinsville woman makes $2 million donation to local Shriners

Marcia Billhartz, a Collinsville native and area philanthropist, wanted to find a way to honor her brother, Edward Allan, who served as the leader of the Southern Illinois chapter of Shriners International 2018. With a $2 million contribution to Shriners Hospitals for Children – the largest ever for the local hospital that provides highly specialized medical care to children regardless of a family’s ability to pay – she’s leaving a legacy in Allan’s name that will help kids for years to come.

Officials at the hospital, including two national-level board members, including the top-ranking Shriner internationally, offered to name the hospital’s lobby in Allan’s name at his sister’s request, so that generations to come may know the impact his passion for helping kids has had.

Marcia was married to the late Warren Billhartz, a prominent banker and lawyer in Southern Illinois, who passed away in 2006. He served the state in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1955-1961, as well as an assistant Illinois Attorney General. He later was the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of a large bank located in Southern Illinois. He and Marcia married in 1979.

“It humbles us to know that someone of Mrs. Billhartz’s generosity would want to honor her brother by giving so generously to Shriners Hospitals for Children,” said William S. “Bill” Bailey, Imperial Potentate of Shriners International. “This is the largest single gift any one donor has given specifically to Shriners Hospital in St. Louis, and it’s perfectly fitting that we name our lobby for Illustrious Sir Edward Allan.”

Marcia and her brother Edward, along with his wife, Annette, gathered with members of their family, representatives of Shriners Hospitals for Children, both locally and internationally, and three of the organizations top patient ambassadors in St. Louis for the special ceremony to dedicate the hospital’s lobby on Dec. 8.

“Edward is very proud to be a Shriner and the accomplishments they make in assisting children requiring world-class specialized medical care,” said Marcia Billhartz. “I am so proud of my brother and his dedication to this mission – that he would volunteer nearly a decade of his life serving on the leadership line on Ainad Shriners to make a difference in the life of children. I am so glad to have the ability to give this transformative gift to Shriners Hospitals for Children in his honor. I am very proud to be part of his legacy and the ability to contribute to pediatric care.”

Hospital officials say that this is the most significant donation in the hospital’s local history and allows them to perpetuate the mission of caring for children regardless of their ability to pay.

“We are thrilled Marcia and Ed are here today that we may show our gratitude for their support,” said Jerry Gantt, president, and CEO of the international pediatric hospital system. “It’s people like Ms. Billhartz and Illustrious Sir Ed who continue to inspire us as board members and volunteers, our patient and families and our staff members at the hospital, reminding us of the important mission we have the privilege of carrying out because of their generous support.”


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