The lobby of the new $124 million hospital in Shiloh — Memorial Hospital East — will be named in honor of Gary D. and Frances Heien of O’Fallon.
The couple recently made a $1 million pledge to Memorial Foundation’s capital campaign, called Progress Rooted In Tradition.
The Heiens often talked about making charitable contributions from their estate. When the couple learned that Memorial Hospital East would be built so close to their hometown, Fran said they stopped talking and started planning. Gary passed away in 2011.
“It is indeed our pleasure and gives me great satisfaction to support Memorial Hospital East,” Fran said.
Fran worked as a registered nurse at Memorial Hospital Belleville before staying home to raise their two children, Gary Jr., who passed away in 2012, and Susan. She went on to become a school nurse in O’Fallon for 14 years and then became an auxiliary volunteer 26 years ago at Memorial Hospital Belleville. She continues her volunteer service to the hospital.
It is indeed our pleasure and gives me great satisfaction to support Memorial Hospital East.
Frances Heien of O’Fallon
She served on the Auxiliary Board and was a member of Memorial Foundation’s board of directors for several years.
“We certainly are extremely thankful to the Heien’s for this generous gift to Memorial,” said Anne Thomure, Memorial Foundation’s executive director. “On behalf of our boards of directors and those we serve, I am deeply grateful for their commitment to Memorial and to the community.”
Both Gary and Fran Heien graduated from O’Fallon Township High School. Gary graduated from Washington University while Fran graduated from Alton Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. The couple married in 1961.
Gary was in tool steel sales before buying Ford Tool Steels Inc. in St. Louis. Their daughter, Susan Gasser, now operates the company.
Memorial Hospital East is set to open to the public at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.
A public ribbon-cutting for the 94-bed hospital is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Sunday at 1404 Cross St. in Shiloh.
By the numbers: Memorial Hospital East
- 94 beds
- $124 million hospital
- 673 employees