“Neither one of us ever made a lot of money,” said Stephanie. “But we always lived very frugally, and we made good investments with the money we saved.” Stephanie worked for more than 20 years as a reservation agent with a major airline, and Joe spent most of his career working in the maintenance department of the Pittsburgh School District.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital was always a favorite charity for Joe and Stephanie, who were married in 1961, one year before the hospital opened. She remembers them learning that Danny Thomas was building a hospital for sick children in Memphis, Tenn.
“We didn’t have much money at the time,” Stephanie said. “But later on I always thought St. Jude would be a cause we would like to help.”
For many years, Stephanie and Joe gave small gifts to St. Jude and then later increased their giving.
“We decided that instead of giving $25 twice a year to a lot of charities,” said Stephanie, “we need to give more to a smaller number of charities. People need a reason to get up in the morning, and we felt that this was a very good thing to do.”
When it was time to get their affairs in order, they decided to make the ultimate gift by leaving St. Jude in their will. They provided for their daughter, Nicole, and Stephanie’s two younger sisters and younger brother, along with some of their favorite charities.