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A Friendship and a Legacy

A gift of life insurance helps support the work of St.Jude.

By Rachel Schwartzberg

Ed Sibis

Ed Sibis

Ed Sibis was a quiet man with a soft place in his heart for children. And, according to his friend Rick Putnam, he loved the work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Sibis and Putnam met on a golf course in Southern California more than 35 years ago.

“Ed had a strong connection with St. Jude, both philosophically and emotionally,” Putnam says.

When Sibis died last year, just shy of his 90th birthday, Putnam became executor of his estate.

“He had no family I was aware of,” Putnam says, “and he left everything to me, with instructions in his will that I’d do what I could to maximize the value of the estate for the children of St. Jude.”

Rick and Lynne Putnam

Rick and Lynne Putnam

At the suggestion of their financial adviser, Putnam and his wife, Lynne, purchased a life insurance policy with St. Jude as the owner and beneficiary. For 10 years, the couple will receive a tax deduction for their contribution to cover the cost of the premiums. After their lifetime, St. Jude will receive a much larger gift than the original value of Sibis’ estate.

“I thought about what Ed might do,” Putnam says. “A gift of a life insurance policy allowed me to take advantage of a tax break, benefit from paying over time, and most importantly, maximize his gift for St. Jude.”

Sibis grew up in an orphanage in Pennsylvania coal country during the Great Depression. After joining the Navy and then traveling the country with his brother, he worked for years at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“Ed was an introverted, somewhat gruff man,” Putnam says. “But get him around children, and it was amazing to watch.”

Both West Coast natives, the Putnams have been married more than 50 years and live in the same town as their children and grandchildren. They say they hope to visit St. Jude, to see firsthand the hospital that meant so much to their friend.

“Thanks to Ed, we’ve learned about the great work St. Jude does,” Putnam says. “It’s a great resource for children going through such a difficult time.”

To learn more about gifts of life insurance or other ways to support St. Jude, call 1-800-910-3188 or email

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