Their name can be hard to master*, however the Fetherstonhaughs are very easy to admire. Dick and Maria have been married for 67 years, have lived in 15 different cities across the US, and found their way back home to California some 30 years ago, when Dick retired from Pennzoil. Both native Californians, they know the value of working your way up, turning risks into opportunity, and making commitments to causes that resonate in their hearts. With friends around the country, a daughter, 3 granddaughters, and 2 great-granddaughters who bring daily joy to their lives, they consider themselves blessed. Their gratitude and kindness shine through in their daily actions.
It was the Friends of Hospice board, in full swing about 25 years ago, that brought Dick and Maria together with like-minded advocates for compassionate end-of-life care. It was the beginning of a movement, a time of learning about hospice, and encouraging other people to get involved. Over the years, Dick and Maria experienced their own losses, often supported by hospice. We visited with Dick and Maria at their home to talk about their long-standing generosity to Hospice Giving Foundation.
Smiling warmly, Dick talked about a friend who was a lover of good brandy. In this man’s final days, Dick, Maria, and other close friends paid him a visit at Westland House, breaking a few nursing home rules along the way. Brandy snifters in hand, they toasted the good times they had shared and the wonderful people who graced their lives. Dick believes his friend died in a way that was living life fully until the end. It’s a memory he cherishes.
Each year, Dick and Maria look forward to sharing a meal with other donors and listening to the speakers at Hospice Giving Foundation’s annual Donor Gratitude Luncheon. They appreciate the chance to hear other people’s perspectives and insights on end-of- life care. Maria is drawn to the education the Foundation offers and hopes that more people will partake and understand how much Hospice Giving Foundation does for our community. Dick is partial to the ‘giving’ part!
Our conversation coming to a close, we drifted to their name and its origin. While primarily of Irish descent, there seems to be a smattering of royal English blood. In traditional Irish fashion, they shared stories, laughed, and made us feel very welcome in their home. We left feeling that Dick and Maria are royalty—if not in their formal heritage, certainly to us at Hospice Giving Foundation. And for that, we are deeply grateful.
* So here’s how you say it! FEATHER-stun-haw