Not long before Jack Vosse left home to begin an Air Force career, he was among those who gathered in downtown Memphis February 4, 1962, to witness the opening of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by founder Danny Thomas.
Nearly 50 years would pass before Vosse set foot on campus again, as a retiree devoted to the St. Jude mission.
“I was astounded to see all that has been done,” he says. “To know so many people have made it possible to save these kids, when 50 years earlier Danny Thomas was told it would be impossible.”
A longtime supporter of St. Jude, Vosse says his involvement deepened when he reached retirement.
Shortly after his wife, Lee, passed away, he received a letter explaining how individuals could leave a legacy and help future generations of children by including St. Jude in their wills.
“Not only had I considered it, but I already had put St. Jude in my will,” Vosse says. “So I called to let them know.”
That led to a meeting with a St. Jude philanthropic adviser. Andrew Ellis explained that by notifying St. Jude of the generous bequest, Vosse had helped the hospital better plan for future needs. Ellis also connected Vosse to volunteer opportunities and offered him the option of funding a bench with a plaque inscribed in memory of Lee.
Vosse’s planned bequest granted him membership into the Danny Thomas–St. Jude Society. These supporters, who have included St. Jude in their estate plans, are invited to an annual event that includes special hospital tours, as well as presentations from patient families, doctors and researchers.
It was such an event in 2009 that brought Vosse back to campus. Almost every year since, he has returned, and his wonder has grown.
“I love to hear the scientists, doctors and nurses talk about what they do — you see how they are so passionately wrapped up in it,” Vosse says. “It’s an amazing experience.”
From Promise, Spring 2019