“Many years, many tears and many laughs.” – Glee Heikes
“Our experience at St. Mary’s was great. My son was very happy with his care, which is saying a lot considering he’s an RRT. He was thankful for the care he received.”
The Joy of Living is in the Joy of Giving
Remembering the remarkable life of graceful Glee Heikes
Glee Heikes passed away five months ago, but her memory remains vibrant, especially among those who knew her and her late husband best. Originally from Washington state, she moved to the High Desert with Hanley, or Hike as friends called him, in 1966. Together, they owned and operated Heikes Cadillac Oldsmobile-GMC-Datsun in Victorville.
Back then, Apple Valley was a small community of several thousand where everybody helped each other and, of course, Glee stood out. Her grace and refined style were apparent, and she always wanted to help others. She especially impressed Tami Doran, caregiver at Providence St. Mary Medical Center and the daughter of an eye doctor who lived near the couple. As a child,
Tami would babysit the Heikes’ dogs, Red 1 and Red 2, and help them with dishes and polishing silverware when they threw parties. She and her brothers always thought the Heikes were rich because they stocked several flavors of expensive Dreyer’s ice cream in their freezer. They’d only have little bites when they would babysit the dogs though, as Tami recalls with a chuckle, so it wouldn’t look like they ate too much.
As the years went by, Tami and Glee became close friends. “We were friends long before I knew of her involvement with the hospital,” shared Tami who acknowledges that she, like many others, was in awe of Glee. “She and Hike were concerned about everybody in the community. They knew a lot, cared a lot and gave a lot,” she said.
Tami credits Glee with inspiring her as a child, and being a positive force in the community. “She was very refined, a total lady head to toe.” Glee’s support of Providence St. Mary was legendary and when Tami became a nurse at the hospital, Glee was extremely proud. When Tami won the Paladugu Award, a nursing recognition award at Providence St. Mary, Glee made sure to attend the award presentation.
Glee touched many lives in this way, including that of longtime major gift officer with the Foundation, Lezli Roberts. They met when Glee joined the Foundation board in 1995 and became enduring friends. “Glee’s and Hike’s lives were encapsulated by one of their favorite sayings: The joy of living is in the joy of giving,” Lezli recalled. “They lived that mantra together every day.” Hanley was clearly the love of her life. Even after his passing in 1993, she would share updates on the hospital and community with the photos of him in her house.
“She always wanted to help,” said Lezli. Glee and Hanley were instrumental in shaping the valley so she knew many business owners and civic leaders. She would reach out to them for gifts and advocate for Providence St. Mary. She was also instrumental in helping recruit board members. “When Glee walked into a room, she was like a magnet. Everyone would come up and speak with her,” Lezli remembered. “She planted seeds of giving within her circle of friends and those grew into generous support for the work of the Foundation.” Lezli has been with the
Foundation for more than 25 years, so they shared many wonderful memories. One way she is honoring those memories is to continue planning a new program that Glee was incredibly passionate about — the Emeritus board program — that will
honor past Foundation board members.
Glee and Hanley believed in philanthropy and in leaving behind a legacy. In fact, she was key in raising more than $7 million for the hospital in estate gifts and millions more in special campaigns. They created a charitable gift annuity themselves, and made an estate gift that will fund the new chapel at the hospital campus in Victorville. The Hanley H. Heikes Legacy Society was established as a way to recognize, honor and thank those who have named the medical center as a beneficiary in their estate plans.
Glee was 97 when she passed away. Although a car accident made her final years more difficult, she always found joy in connecting with friends. As she shared in a note to her friend Lezli, “Many years, many tears and many laughs.” Randy Castillo, Providence St. Mary Medical Center chief executive, speaks for us all when he says, “During my time here, Glee became very special to me and I will truly miss her. She did so much for our community and Providence St. Mary that we all will benefit for years to come.”
You can watch a virtual tribute for Glee and Hanley and learn about their legacy and be inspired by two lives lived for others. Watch the tribute celebration here.
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