C. Bernard and Irene Shea Trust gives Fairview Hospital $1.5M gift

Tuesday February 19, 2013

GREAT BARRINGTON -- Fairview Hospital has received $1.5 million from the estate of C. Bernard and Irene Shea -- the second substantial gift in less than 20 years from a couple dedicated to the health care industry.

The money will go toward future endeavors for Fairview Hospital, a 25-bed critical-access hospital, but it’s unclear what projects they might be.

"Having a resource cushion like that is significant to the hospital," said Lauren Smith, a spokeswoman for Fairview Hospital.

The $1.5 million gift follows the $667,000 given to Fairview Hospital by the C. Bernard and Irene Shea Trust in 1998.

"This gift was made in recognition of the importance that access to high-quality health care has on the well-being of a community," Fairview Hospital President Eugene Dellea said in a news release. "Through their own health issues, the [Sheas] knew the value of having a hospital nearby and they appreciated the special nature of Fairview."

The Sheas, who divided their time between Sheffield and Pittsburgh from 1942 to 1986, were active members of the Fairview community while living in the Berkshires.

C. Bernard started serving on Fairview’s board of trustees in 1944, and his wife was a volunteer and director of the Fairview Auxiliary.

Irene Shea took her husband’s spot on the board after he died in 1961. She died last November.

Irene Shea led many fundraising efforts and spearheaded the initiative to build the Physicians Office Building on the Fairview campus.

"We’re very grateful for the commitment her and her husband made," Smith said.

Smith also read a letter from Irene Shea, in which she described how her husband would do some of the hospital’s laundry at home to cut back costs for the hospital.

Money from the Sheas’ estate was also bequeathed to Princeton University and Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh.

To reach Adam Poulisse:
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