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Celebrating A Treasured Friend

Jack Esson touched many lives. His planned gift will too.

Jack Esson was a private person but if you were his friend you were his friend for life. “He had a very big heart,” said his dear friend, Adela, “but he was very honest, straightforward and blunt.”

They’d met 27 years before at a car show when Jack stopped to talk to Adela’s son who was three at the time. “He asked my son “Where do you live?” and my son told him. When people came by and looked at a car that we owned, Jack would tell them, “Oh, if you want parts for that car, just go to this address. My husband and I thought, ‘How does he know where we live?’” Adela recalls with a hearty laugh. “He always joked like that and afterwards cracked up whenever he said our address.”

His close group of friends also included James and Alberta Stewart. James met Jack at the patient Advisory Council at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center. “Jack was a unique character and comfortable saying what he thought. He had really good experiences at the hospital but also wasn’t afraid to say what he thought we could do better,” recalls James. “That helped people get going.”

Jack loved fishing most of all and frequently said, “Fishing isn’t a matter of life or death; it’s more important than that.” So, of course, the Advisory Council had to work around his fishing schedule. Then one day he brought in hook pins for all of the council members and passed them out. “Everyone was touched,” said James. “When we got those hooks from Jack, we all knew and understood what it meant.”

Even when his cancer treatments started, Jack would tell doctors, “Oh, I can’t do that. I have a fishing trip.” He loved being out in the ocean, loved the camaraderie with his fishing friends. When the illness finally took him, many of his friends were there, sitting around his bed and sharing memories. His last act of kindness was a generous planned gift to Providence Holy Cross. It was used to furnish the refreshed post-partum unit and create thirteen murals. Like much of what he did, the gift was meticulously planned. “He was very thorough,” said Adela, who is helping to see it through. “We don’t have to do anything other than follow what he left us,” she said. A fitting tribute to a unique man.

For information on planned gifts, contact Joe Ward, executive director of planned giving, at Joseph.Ward@providence.org.

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