Gillette Children’s Hospital Foundation to Receive Its Largest Gift
We’ve recently learned that sometime later this year Gillette Children’s Foundation will receive the largest single gift in its history. The gift comes as a part of the estate of Margaret and Leonard Anton of Sarasota, Florida.
Leonard (Tony) Anton came to the Gillette Children’s Hospital (Then called the State Hospital for Indigent Crippled and Deformed Children) in 1912 as a 6-year-old on the train from Duluth by an agent of the Humane Soceity (an important social service agency at the time). He was an only child. He was treated at our Lake Phalen facility over the next eight and one-half months for Osteomyelitis, (a bone infection). His father died the next year. While we don’t know much about his mother, Leonard’s wife has described his situation as that of a crippled orphan. Tony returned as a 9-year-old and remained at Gillette for another three years an two months. Mary Kelleher, a family friend, reports that Tony met a man while at Gillette who took an interest in him and was instrumental in getting an education at Harvard University where he took an undergraduate degree.
Peggy grew up less than a mile from Gillette’s Children Hospital in what was then known as the Rice neighborhood. She was an only child. Her dad was a salesman for Griggs and Cooper, then a wholesale grocer. She attended St. Joseph’s Academy (a Catholic girls’ school) in St. Paul. She then attended the College of St. Catherine (also in St. Paul) for a couple of years before going to work for her uncle at Midway National Bank. Tony and Peggy met when they both worked for the State of Minnesota, we suspect in the mid-1930’s. We believe that Peggy worked for the University of Minnesota at one time.
What little we’ve been able to learn about Margaret and Leonard is the result of conversations with long-time neighbor and friend Dorothy Johnston, of Sarasota Florida. Mrs. Johnson tells us that Leonard worked for the State of Minnesota, where he met his future wife, Margaret. He then worked for the Social Security Administration. After WWII he entered the State Department and served in the Foreign Service, where he was posted in Japan to help create a Social Security system in that country. Margaret traveled with Leonard when he was posted in Japan and Taiwan among other places before ending his career in Washington DC. Leonard retired in 1973 and he and Martha moved to Sarasota Florida.
Long-time friend and neighbor Dorothy Johnson describes Leonard as a quiet, mild mannered man. “He was very astute and a skillful investor who did all of his own investing. He and Dorothy were avid golfer, despite Tony’s severe limp”. Mrs. Johnson said Leonard had received many awards as a result of his work, and had been instrumental in the development of a museum of Taiwanese cultural artifact in Taipei. In the late 80’s when he could no longer manage their own affairs, he set up a trust to manage their investments and take care of their needs. Mrs. Johnson describes here friend Margaret as petite with red hair when she was younger. “Peggy began her own career working at her uncle’s a bank (Midway National Bank) in the Twin Cities.
“Tony developed Alzheimer’s in the late 80’s and Peggy took care of him at home for some time. When she was no longer able to manage, Peggy had Tony placed into nursing care, where she was still very faithful and attentive. Tony died in 1995. Margaret died December 26th, 2000.
Estate plans written by Tony and Peggy leave almost all of the remaining assets to charity. Gillette Children’s Hospital Foundation will receive 50% or roughly $800,000. The University of Minnesota and Harvard University will each receive roughly $400,000 for their student loan funds