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Love, Legacy & Impact

Patricia “Pat” Adams, MD and Robert “Charlie” Adams were married for 47 years, two people bound together by a shared dedication to children, belief in the impact of science and medicine, and trust in the power of healthcare philanthropy.

Pat, who died in 2015, created the Patricia C. Adams, MD Endowment Fund for Children’s Care to “support programs and participation in programs that enhance the quality of life of children, particularly those with special needs.” Her bequest to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital totaled over $500,000.

Charlie, who died last October, left a matching gift of an additional $500,000, for a combined total of over $1.1 million – one of the largest ever received by the Wentworth-Douglass Foundation.

According to Cristine More, CFRE, Chief Philanthropy Officer, the combined Fund will generate over $44,000 in interest each year, earmarked for children’s well-being and healthcare .

Pediatricians are the eyes and ears on the ground for children’s welfare and ability to thrive, and Pat, who died of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, was a gifted and admired pediatrician. In 1971, she joined the pediatric practice of Robert Wilson, MD and Sol Rockenmacher, MD that later became Dover Pediatrics. Her service to Wentworth-Douglass took many forms – participating in and chairing several committees, presenting educational programs for nurses and physicians, and serving as President of the Medical Staff, as Chair of the Executive Medical Committee and as a Trustee. “Her leadership had a remarkable impact in advancing medical excellence, acquiring cutting edge technology and implementing new clinical programs,” says colleague Babu Ramdev, MD.

Charlie was a beloved presence at the University of New Hampshire, joining the Geography Department in 1967, where, for the next 27 years, he taught a variety of courses mainly focused on meteorology and climatology. He also served as the NH State Climatologist for many years. Beyond the classroom, he was an avid UNH sports fan and regular fixture at hockey games, where he often manned the penalty box, and was well known and respected by the hockey players.

Dr. Sol Rockenmacher, who worked with Pat for many years at Dover Pediatrics, remembers her as “a truly special person, an excellent clinician, and someone who was absolutely adored by her patients – three of whom were my own daughters. She cared for and cared deeply about children.”

“Beyond being a brilliant physician, Pat always had a smile on her face,” adds Dr. Ramdev, who worked side-by-side with her on hospital committees and often in the Emergency Department when she was on call: “Pat always brought such a sense of relief and comfort to everyone in the ER.” Dr. Ramdev, who serves as an Emeritus Member of the WDH Foundation Board, says that Charlie was committed to establishing an Endowment Fund to advance Pat’s vision and values.

Now the Patricia C. Adams, MD Endowment Fund for Children’s Care is benefitting children within the hospital and beyond. Most recently, the Fund supported a portion of our TeleNewborn Consult Program, which provides neonatal expertise for pediatricians and staff caring for sick or unstable newborns who require a higher level of care. Neonatology is a very specialized service, and our TeleNewborn Consult Program partners our Dover team with experts at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children by utilizing video-conferencing technology for real-time consultation.

“This collaboration,” says Lyndi Sargent, Maternal/Child Resource Coordinator, “can result in the baby staying with us and avoiding transfer to another facility. The family is where they want to be, and this provides tremendous peace of mind.”

The impact of the Patricia C. Adams, MD Endowment Fund for Children’s Care extends beyond clinical treatment to encompass quality of life opportunities in the larger community. Examples include supporting participation at Camp Lance-a-Lot for children with diabetes, Camp Meridian for children with congenital heart conditions, therapeutic horseback riding, music therapy, and camp scholarships at The Works Health & Fitness Center in Somersworth.

Therapeutic horseback riding was especially near and dear to both Pat and Charlie, according to Sargent: “He was so passionate about providing opportunities for kids to be active and outdoors and share their love of horses.”

This level of community engagement was typical of Charlie, says Dr. Rockenmacher: “Charlie was an amazing person – a rare gem – and their love story is one for the ages. He visited Pat in the nursing home twice a day, every day, to feed her and just talk. Their incredible love story will now continue to benefit children and support families throughout our area. This gift of generosity and foresight radiates outward, and perpetuates the essence of who this couple was.”

Cristine More agrees, adding that Charlie was “a very humble man who wasn’t looking for accolades, recognition, or fanfare. He simply wanted to make a difference in the world. He was a big hugger who literally wanted to embrace his community with his philanthropy, while at the same time, enhancing his wife’s legacy by ‘marrying’ their funds.”

Pat and Charlie Adams have amplified their shared mission of impacting the lives of children – Pat through medicine, and Charlie through teaching. Their Endowment Fund for Children’s Care honors this enduring love story by carrying their values forward. According to his brother-in-law, Mark Cronin: “Charlie and Pat were like magnets – they loved to laugh, treasured their friendships and were passionate explorers who traveled the world.”

Learn more about the impact others have had thanks to healthcare philanthropy by seeing what the Wentworth Douglass Hospital Charitable Foundation has to offer.

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