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A gift of gratitude

Ingeborg and Dieter Sholtz, MD

A philanthropic gift cannot be fully appreciated without understanding the back story – those twists and turns in life that lead to opportunities, to happiness, to gratitude, and, ultimately, to an outpouring of generosity.

In the case of Ingeborg Scholz and her husband, Dr. Dieter Scholz, the story began in Germany, their homeland, when each – separately – decided to pursue a better life in the United States following World War II.

Their philanthropic tale only came into full focus after the 2016 passing of Mrs. Scholz, and 12 years after the death of Dr. Scholz. The couple left to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital a bequest totaling more than $1.2 million.

“Their story touches the heart because their generosity stemmed from their appreciation of their own opportunities here after leaving Germany, which of course derived from their own talents and successes,” noted Graham Gavert, director of development for L+M.

A young Dr. Scholz left Germany with his medical bag. He trained as an anesthesiologist in Hartford and, once certified, landed one of the few coveted jobs available at the time, joining the staff of Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in the early 1960s.

Dr. Scholz met Inge, a young au pair, at a friend’s party, where he was smitten by her charm, beauty and melodious singing voice. Mrs. Scholz pursued her interest in singing at the Hartt School of Music and went on to delight audiences in the area with her many performances. Dr. and Mrs. Scholz shared a deep love of music, particularly the classical works of Bach.

Once settled at L+M, they married, living in a house near the hospital on Montauk Avenue. “In those days it was not easy to be employed by a hospital, and being from Germany, it was not easy for Dieter to get a job,” recalled Johanna Behringer, a long-time family friend. “They were very grateful. The Scholzes loved the hospital for all that it provided them.”

Several years ago, Mrs. Scholz made a $100,000 pledge to the L+M Capital Campaign in support of what is now the Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Center in Waterford. “She didn’t hesitate,” said Fred Behringer, who helped Inge with her financial affairs. “It was a way for Inge to see her money making a difference.”

After Inge’s death, the bequest helped push the L+M Capital Campaign over its record-setting goal of $30 million. “We are truly grateful to Dr. and Mrs. Scholz,” Gavert said. “While we know they never had children, we have heard that the hospital was their family. And, in helping the hospital, they are helping patients. In that way, their legacy continues to be felt.”