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Marge Dillard: Tending to the health of her community

Published on Tuesday August 8, 2023
Marge Dillard

Meet one of our oldest (and wisest) donors. At 97, Marge Dillard has supported excellent care in just about every way possible. In addition to giving to the Greatest Need Fund, she has supported cancer care, heart and vascular care, hospice care, capital campaigns and more over the years. 
 

Marge Dillard tends to her beloved community much the way she tends to her flourishing garden, which is to say with enthusiasm and a keen eye for how to help make it healthy and vibrant.

She is a firm believer that an important part of what helps a community and the people in it thrive is a strong local healthcare system.

“Good healthcare is something we all need,” she said. “I love the people here and I love the community, so I try to help and give something back. It’s important for our community and everyone in it. It’s important for the children and the future.”

At 97, Marge has supported patients and excellent care for central Virginia in just about every way possible. In addition to giving to the Greatest Need Fund, she has contributed to cancer care, heart and vascular care, hospice care, capital campaigns and more. 

Marge has also supported local healthcare on a more personal level throughout her life. She was president of the Women’s Auxiliary for the Lynchburg Academy of Medicine and married to the late Powell Dillard, who served as chief of staff at Lynchburg General Hospital.

“Powell was actually the first baby born at Virginia Baptist Hospital, and two of my children were born there,” she said. “The hospitals here have been important to me and my family in a number of ways.”

When Powell, whom she calls her best friend and love of her life, needed care for cancer and then end-of-life care, they turned to Centra Alan B. Pearson Regional Cancer Center and Centra Hospice. After his passing, Marge made and encouraged gifts in support of both.

“He had really good care,” she said. “Everyone who worked with him was wonderful. I appreciated the care he received and the care they showed for me. I spent the night with him when he was very sick. They made us comfortable and saw that we had what we needed.”

These days, Marge (or Granny Dill as she is affectionally known by some) continues to find ways to stay active. She works in her garden “at least two hours every day the weather is nice,” walks every other day, responds to needs and reads – “including the Foundation’s newsletter!” She also tries to keep up with her large family, which includes 10 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

Her advice for someone thinking about making a gift is in line with the go-for-it approach she has long embraced. “Don’t think about it. Just do it if you can. The hospitals are part of what made this a great place to raise a family. I want to keep it that way.” 

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