Marilyn and David Grover pay tribute to their late son
There is a good chance Jeffrey Grover’s passion for deep sea diving was influenced by his father, David. As a young man during the ‘40s and ‘50s, the senior Grover was a hard-hat diving and salvage officer for the Navy. Jeffrey became a scuba diver, who appreciated the mysteries of Stillwater Cove.
It was that mutual interest in the sea that sparked a family plan to honor Jeffrey, who passed away in 2008.
Jeffrey, who lived on the Monterey Peninsula with his wife, Wendy, was a civil and mechanical engineer. His work frequently involved litigation, ultimately leading him to law school. Just weeks after he passed the California Bar Exam, Jeffrey was diagnosed with colon cancer. He was 48.
“Jeffrey was very healthy and athletic all his life,” says his father, “but his last years were very difficult for him. The odds were against him; he was at stage IV when diagnosed. They told him he had no more than a year or two to live, but he battled the cancer for six more years before his death. He was 54 when he died — too young. This was one of those great tragedies. I had colon cancer at about the same time, but mine was diagnosed early, and I’ve been cancer-free ever since.”
Jeffrey’s son, Casey, was in medical school at the University of California, Los Angeles during his father’s illness. While his father was being treated at Community Hospital, the younger Grover met his future wife — Dr. Reb Close, a UCLA medical school alum helping care for his dad.
“Our first meeting with Reb was when we went into Jeff’s room at the hospital,” says David, “and there was this nice young woman in scrubs, perched at the foot of his bed. Our introduction to Community Hospital was that personal. Reb and Casey are now both on the medical staff of CHOMP’s Emergency department. They have different shifts, so they can take care of their 5-year-old daughter, Kai.”
A year ago, Casey proposed to his grandfather that the two of them collaborate on an article on hyperbaric medicine, as a tribute to Jeffrey.
“With my Navy diving experience and a number of years of writing Navy history, I suggested we look into the Navy’s role in the history of diving medicine, and the broader applications of what has been learned,” David says. The result appeared in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of Emergency Medicine, titled “Albert Behnke: Nitrogen Narcosis.”
The research and focus on hyperbaric medicine inspired David and his wife, Marilyn, to fund a Community Hospital-sponsored, day-long workshop on the growing use of hyperbaric medicine beyond the treatment of embolisms and wound care.
“We thought the hospital could bring in a top-notch academician to lead the discussion, with hospital staff members providing coordinated back up, and perhaps have the event approved for continuing education credit,” says David. “I believed that with the right presentation, this could generate a lot of interest.”
Stephanie Layhe, director of Rehabilitation Services for the hospital, was well aware of the growing interest in hyperbaric medicine and its applications. Community Hospital has two hyperbaric chambers, used to treat a range of hard-to-heal wounds. Layhe knew of physicians and staff members interested in becoming certified to provide hyperbaric care. So she contacted Dr. Thomas Serena of Massachusetts, an international leader in acute and chronic wound care and incoming president of the American Hyperbaric Society. She invited Serena to present a grand rounds lecture to promote the use of hyperbaric technology in medicine.
“Thanks to the generosity of David and Marilyn Grover, we created this one-time event, which saved us from sending staff members and physicians out of the area to get certified in the use of hyperbaric medicine,” Layhe says. “Ten people were certified: our wound care manager, three staff members, and six physicians. And we had 43 people attend Dr. Serena’s grand rounds, with a lot of interest and questions. This is not something a lot of people know about. But thanks to the Grovers and the memory of their son Jeffrey, we now do.”
David and Marilyn Grover have long been involved in charitable giving, at a modest level. Once they became aware of the “benevolent attitude” of the IRS toward non-cash giving, they looked into it.
“When we learned that a stock that had a high capital gain could be given to a charity and that the charity would pay no capital-gains tax on the transaction, and neither would we, we were determined to go ahead along this new pathway,” David says.
The Grovers chose a well-known stock from their portfolio, which paid only a modest dividend but had recently reached an all-time high value. If they sold it through conventional channels, the capital-gains tax would wipe out much of their profit. If they gave it to Community Hospital Foundation, the tax deduction would be for its full value as converted to cash by the hospital. The choice, says David, was easy.
“There are many advantages to this kind of giving,” he says. “It can involve all types of property — securities, real estate, art — which are often costly to sell readily. It can represent a way to clear out the odds and ends of holdings that don’t fit into the current interests of the owner. Community Hospital, as the recipient, can handle much of the paperwork for the transaction through a staff that knows how to do it.
“A sense of paying back for our own good fortune accompanies a gift to Community Hospital, whether made as a memorial, commemoration, tribute, or for any other reason. It’s just a great idea.”