Patient Story

Why I Give: Marie Tompkins


“Tom said that the happiest people in the world were the ones giving back,” Marie said. “We were never wealthy, but we’ve shared when we could.” -Marie Tompkins

Marie Tompkins’ history with Saint Luke’s Hospital dates back to 1974, when she and her husband, Willis “Tom” Tompkins, PhD, moved to Kansas City.

A neighbor’s daughter recruited Marie to volunteer at Saint Luke’s Hospital. And for nearly 50 years, Marie has volunteered in virtually every area of the hospital and at Saint Luke’s Foundation.

“Saint Luke’s became like another member of my family,” she said.

Tom spent his career as an administrator in higher education and in development work, which included help with the fundraising campaign for Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in the late 1970s.

“Tom saw why I was so into my volunteer work at Saint Luke’s,” Marie said. “He saw the way everyone is so kind, generous, and appreciative.”

Marie emphasizes that she and Tom both grew up with parents whose example of selflessness left a lasting impression.

“We both saw the natural, spontaneous generosity of our parents during the Depression and with veterans after World War I,” Marie said, “They established this ethic of helping others whenever possible.”

Marie lost Tom after 68 years of marriage in 2013. Shortly after, Marie and her family set up a planned gift to support Saint Luke’s Medical Education & Research, reflecting on Tom’s career in education, his interest in research at Saint Luke’s, in addition to Marie’s love for Saint Luke’s as a whole.

“Tom said that the happiest people in the world were the ones giving back,” Marie said. “We were never wealthy, but we’ve shared when we could. The accumulation of wealth isn’t important—it’s what you do with it.”

And at 97 years old, Marie still volunteers at Saint Luke’s Hospital.

Learn about our planned giving program.