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Transforming Medicine Campaign

Frank family gives neuroscience chair

The members of the Frank family who funded a new endowed chair include Brigadier General Louis Frank (seated, center) and his daughters, Terry Thompson (seated, left) and Lynda Sanders (seated, right). Also pictured are (standing, from the left) Thompson's husband, Roger Thompson; Dr. James Bernat, in whose honor the Franks' gift was made; and Sanders's husband, Dr. Donald Sanders.

"Every single one of the doctors my parents have had here has been phenomenal, and the coordination, the communication, and the follow-up have just been outstanding."

By Kate Villars

Terry Thompson recalls several occasions when her father, Brigadier General Louis Frank, arrived for an appointment with his neurologist, Dr. James Bernat, bringing a gift for his favorite physician. "We'd go to the appointment and here's Dad with his bag of frozen salmon that he'd caught in Alaska," she says. "It's almost like the old-fashioned custom of bringing a chicken when you go to visit your country doctor. Dad always said he wanted to do something for Dr. Bernat."

It's the kind of gesture that comes naturally to 93-year-old Louis Frank, who grew up in Lincoln and North Woodstock, N.H., the son of Italian immigrants—a family known locally for their restaurant, Govoni's.

But Dartmouth-Hitchcock doctors can no longer accept personal gifts from patients. And the Frank family wanted to do more to honor Bernat's years of attentive care for both General Frank and his wife, Ruth, and to express their gratitude for the care throughout Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

The result was a $2.5-million gift commitment from Louis and Ruth Frank and their daughters, Terry Thompson and Lynda Sanders, to endow DMS's first chair in neuroscience. One of the highest honors in academic medicine, endowed chairs support the work of key faculty in their multiple roles of physician, teacher, and researcher. While many chairs place an emphasis on research, the Louis and Ruth Frank Professorship in Neuroscience will celebrate the importance of preparing young physicians to become exceptional clinicians by supporting excellence in teaching and patient care.

"This is a way for us to repay the institution," says Thompson, a retired Hanover schoolteacher. "Every single one of the doctors my parents have had here has been phenomenal, and the coordination, the communication, and the follow-up have just been outstanding. And Dr. Bernat has been a wonderful doctor to both of them."

Kate Villars is assistant director of development communications for DMS-DHMC.

That the family is able to make such a magnanimous gift is thanks to General Frank's success in the military and in a variety of business ventures, from furniture manufacturing to petroleum exploration. A fighter pilot in the Marine Corps, he served combat tours in World War II and the Korean War, logging more than 8,000 flying hours. The final appointment of his 20-year career was with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

After retiring from the military in 1959, Frank returned to New Hampshire, where he and his friend Sherman Adams developed Loon Mountain ski area in Lincoln, N.H., with Frank serving as vice president and later chairing the board. "Lincoln . . . was a very depressed area," says Terry Thompson. "The drive behind Loon Mountain was bringing jobs and money into the community. It was an investment in the community."

The Frank family's gift to DMS is also an investment in people: in the physicians who provide skilled and compassionate clinical care, as well as in the patients they care for.

Turning talc into gold

Win Dezaine, who made a major gift to Dartmouth-Hitchcock in appreciation of the care that his late wife received, has always enjoyed fishing and hunting. He is pictured at the desk where he ties all his own flies.

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
 — Poet Maya Angelou (1928-)

By Kate Villars

Winston Dezaine's school days ended when he finished eighth grade in Johnson, Vt., in 1938. That same year, 13-year-old "Win" left home after his mother died of a heart attack. "I never spent any extra time on education," he says. Instead, Dezaine followed a different path to success, with a 42-year career in Vermont's talc-mining industry that left him in a position to give generously to Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Like many young men of his generation, Dezaine served in the military during World War II. He was only 19, and newly married, when he joined up. "That was a good education for a fellow right out of the woods," he says of his service as a sergeant with the Army's 6th Engineer Special Brigade, which participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy at Omaha Beach in June 1944.

Upon returning home to Vermont, Dezaine found work in the talc mines. "I started out at the bottom—started as a laborer," he explains. "I did every job there was to do in the mines. Then I worked up to foreman; then I worked up to mine superintendent."

Eventually, Dezaine was running the operations of several talc mines that supplied mills in Chester, Ludlow, and Johnson, Vt., where the soft rock was processed for use in products ranging from baby powder to paint to roofing materials.

"At one time, there used to be a lot of talc mines in Vermont," explains Dezaine. "The ore runs north and south the length of the state, through the Green Mountains."

Dezaine had a talent for prospecting for these talc deposits, and he prides himself on having discovered an especially pure deposit in Reading, which became the Hammondsville Mine, producing the finest talc in the country.

By 1951, the Vermont-based firm that Dezaine worked for—Eastern Magnesia Talc Company, known as "Eastern Mag"—was not only an important industry in central Vermont, but also one of the largest producers of raw talc in the world.

When Johnson & Johnson bought "Eastern Mag" in 1965, Dezaine stayed on. Soon he was traveling all over the United States and Canada for the company, prospecting for talc deposits and helping to open new mines.

"You just couldn't work for a better company," says Dezaine of Johnson & Johnson. "They use the help very good. And they appreciate what you do."

When Johnson & Johnson sold its Vermont talc operations in 1988, Dezaine and his wife, Dorothy, retired to her family home in Craftsbury, Vt. As Dorothy's health deteriorated, and she lost her vision to macular degeneration, they became very familiar with the two-hour drive to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Before Dorothy died, the Dezaines agreed that they wanted to make a significant gift to Dartmouth-Hitchcock in appreciation of her care. Accordingly, Win Dezaine's most recent gift, in the form of a charitable gift annuity (see more information on this form of giving below), will be directed in part to the Section of Ophthalmology in honor of Dorothy's doctor, Dr. Christopher Chapman. The rest of the gift is intended to improve medical services for residents of rural areas of Vermont and New Hampshire. "I live in the northeast of Vermont, the poorest part of the state," notes Dezaine. "I'd like to see these people get help. I've been poor, and I know what it is. I was very fortunate in life. I'd like to see my money used to do some good. I'm sure it will."


Over the top!
On December 31, 2009, the Transforming Medicine Campaign came to a successful conclusion, exceeding its $250-million goal with a total of $256,249,194.

With every ending comes a new beginning. The Transforming Medicine Campaign provides a solid foundation upon which Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth-Hitchcock are building for the future. The success of this Campaign will be measured by the health of the people and communities the institution serves; by advances in medical science and health-care delivery; and by the skill, innovation, and compassion of the doctors and scientists trained at Dartmouth. This is a defining moment in an extraordinary time. The transformation of medicine is just beginning.

For more Campaign highlights, see the article "Direct Impact."

A legacy of giving
Every day, every year, Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Dartmouth Medical School benefit from the generosity of donors like Win Dezaine (see the story above) who make gifts in the form of a charitable gift annuity. This simple form of deferred gift provides donors with a dependable stream of income during their lifetime, as well as income tax benefits. In many cases, planning for a charitable legacy through a gift annuity or bequest allows a donor to make a more substantial gift than would otherwise be possible.

Learning more
For more information about such forms of giving, visit the DHMC Development Office.


Kate Villars is assistant director of development communications for DMS-DHMC

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