Benefactor Stories > Alumnus Honors Wife, Mayo Clinic Through Generous Gifts

Alumnus Honors Wife, Mayo Clinic Through Generous Gifts

By Melissa Caulfield

This article originally appeared in the Mayo Clinic Alumni magazine and was reprinted with permission. Learn more at

Gary Pies, D.D.S. met his wife, Marcia, who died in 2014, when they were juniors in college. They married after his first year of dental school, and Marcia worked as a teacher. They were married for 51 years and had two children.

Dr. Pies says he was concerned about going to Vietnam, where he served as a general dentist in the Army for a year. But, he says, it turned out to be a very positive experience that gave him confidence to apply to Mayo Clinic.

“I was discharged from the Army in November and started my residency in January,” he says. “I went from the tropics to Rochester. It took a long time to warm up.”

He was a fellow in oral and maxillofacial surgery from 1969 to 1972. “My wife and I loved Mayo Clinic and Rochester,” says Dr. Pies. “I took out a loan to start a private practice back home in Cincinnati, Ohio. At the time, the Doctors Mayo Society was forming, and I wanted to be a charter member. It cost $10,000, but I could only give $1,000. They told me I could make up the rest of it in my own time. That was very kind of them, and I gave the remainder quickly.”

Dr. Pies and his wife continued giving routinely to Mayo Clinic throughout the 50 years he practiced.

“My wife was a strong partner and enthusiastic about our giving to Mayo Clinic,” says Dr. Pies. “She was a great saver and excellent manager of our money.” The couple remained Mayo Clinic patients through the years.

Several years ago, in Marcia’s memory, Dr. Pies made a donation to establish the Marcia S. Pies Fund in Breast Cancer Research. More recently, he made a gift that would have surprised even Marcia. He established a $2 million charitable remainder trust, an irrevocable trust that generates a potential income stream — in this case, for his adult children — with the remainder of the donated assets going to breast cancer research at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Pies says the Mayo Clinic Office of Gift Planning helped him determine the best way to make his gifts.

 “I was blessed to work for a long time, making this gift possible,” says Dr. Pies. “When my wife died, I was glad I still had my work. In fact, I still wish I were working. I do not love retirement.

“Mayo Clinic was such an important part of my life. The money is going back to where it came from — the reason for my success.”

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