Main content

    Our Generous Donors - Dolly & Royce
    Sutter Medical Center Foundation

    Loyal donors Dolly and Royce attribute longevity to Sutter medical care

    Loyal donors Dolly and Royce attribute longevity to Sutter medical care
    Loyal donors Dolly and Royce attribute longevity to Sutter medical care

    As Dolly tends to her flower garden in the front yard, her husband, Royce heads out for his daily stroll through the neighborhood with the companion he calls his “little friend” — his dachshund, Brownie.

    “Brownie doesn’t move too fast. She’s 16 years old,” Royce explains. “But I’m 85, and I shouldn’t have been here this long.”

    He was referring to the abdominal aneurysm that might have proved lethal in the late 1990s, were it not for a corrective procedure that Sutter Health vascular surgeon Thomas C. Park performed.

    “Dr. Park saved Royce’s life. I really admire that guy,” Dolly said. Although the couple restricts travel and spend most of their time in their Roseville neighborhood, they continue to drive to Sacramento for their medical appointments because of the strong bonds of trust and friendship their Sutter physicians have made with them. Over the years, Dolly also has undergone various successful treatments at Sutter facilities.

    “I got the very best care from the best physicians,” Dolly said.

    Royce chimed in, “Sutter has the best doctors that you can find anywhere around. My brother and sister weren’t Sutter patients, and they didn’t have the excellent medical care that I got. We’ve had very good doctors for 50 years through Sutter.”

    Royce and Dolly have expressed their gratitude through decades of philanthropic support that began after Royce left the merchant marine service to join the engineering staff of Sutter Memorial Hospital in 1962. Dolly, meanwhile, worked at the Blue Diamond Almond Growers Exchange packing facility on C Street in Sacramento, initially on the sorting line before working her way up into a position in the cooperative’s engineering department.

    Dolly was born and raised in Rocklin, which in the 1950s had only 500 residents. She was a student at Placer College (later renamed Sierra College) when a friend of hers in the Bay Area arranged a blind date for the fun of it. Dolly’s date was Royce, who had been raised in the small town of Pattonsburg in northwestern Missouri, about 75 miles north of Kansas City. When Royce was a teenager during World War II, his father died of tuberculosis. Royce and his mother moved to Northern California, where his brother and sister already were living.

    “After I graduated from Roseville High School, I joined the merchant marine,” Royce said. Dolly had worked at Aerojet in Rancho Cordova until she and Royce married in 1961, when she took a job at the Oakland Army Base.

    Throughout his 32-year career with Sutter Health, Royce installed medical equipment, conducted scheduled tests to make certain equipment was performing up to specifications, and maintained and repaired equipment. His engineering shop was near the coronary research unit, and he was continually impressed by cardiac care advancements in which Sutter physicians played a role. Shortly after becoming a Sutter Health employee, Royce authorized deductions of monthly contributions from his paychecks through an employee program called the Brick Booster Club. Throughout Royce’s career with Sutter, the couple designated contributions to benefit Sutter Health cardiac research and care programs.

    After Royce and Dolly retired in 1995, they maintained their philanthropic support through numerous gifts to Sutter Medical Center Foundation in honor of Thomas Park and internist John Madigan, who discovered Royce’s aneurysm and referred him to Park for treatment. The couple also has made gifts in recognition of Sutter cardiologists Harvey Matlof and Edmond Lee, rheumatologist JaNahn Scalapino, and pulmonologist Muhammad Afzal, who has since become chief of staff of Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento.

    “Dr. Scalapino is the greatest person, as well as a wonderful doctor and a friend,” Dolly said. Afzal treated Royce for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that probably resulted from exposure to asbestos when he was an engineer aboard ships. Dolly also was under Afzal’s care. Royce’s COPD prevents the couple from traveling by air.

    “When Royce gets on an airplane he always gets pneumonia,” Dolly said.

    “It’s from the recirculated air,” Royce explained. But Sutter physicians have enabled him to manage the condition and resume most of the activities the couple enjoy. Fortunately, they don’t need to travel to see their family members. Royce and Dolly’s two adult sons, and their granddaughter and grandson, all live in Roseville.

    “We enjoy staying around our home,” Dolly added. “I do flower gardening. Mostly seniors live in our neighborhood, and everybody stops in front of our house to tell us we have the prettiest house in the area.” Royce, meanwhile, is an inveterate reader who enjoys mystery novels and historical fiction.

    The couple’s most recent gifts to Sutter Health include generous contributions toward development of a Cardiovascular Hybrid Surgical Suite at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. The planned facility will enable simultaneous minimally invasive and open surgical procedures during the same operating session, which could substantially improve outcomes for patients with divergent and complex cardiac and vascular conditions.