Generations of Generosity: The Lawrence T. & Janet T. Dee Foundation
Jun 12, 2015 9:00 AM
In 1910 Thomas D. and Annie Taylor Dee founded Salt Lake City’s first nonprofit hospital, the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital, which housed a nursing school. Years later, the Dee family donated the aging facility to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. To allow for growth, a new hospital was built. The name of then president of the LDS Church, David O. McKay, was combined with the Dee family name to create the McKay Dee Hospital. In the ’70s the LDS Church sold all of its hospitals to a nonprofit corporation, Intermountain Healthcare, and the nursing school established by Annie moved to Weber State College.
In 1963, the Dee family children established the Annie Taylor Dee Foundation. This Foundation furthered the Dee family’s generosity, which extended to the University of Utah. In 1996 the Foundation set up a scholarship fund for financially vulnerable graduate students in the College of Nursing who excel academically. This scholarship has been, and will continue to be, awarded to hundreds of nursing students.
The legacy of charitable giving was passed down from Tom and Annie to their son Lawrence (Laurie) and his sisters at an early age and carried on for generations. In 1914, while returning by train to Utah after graduating from Cornell University, the 23 year old Laurie met Colorado native Janet Sears Teller. One year later they married and made Ogden their home.
The Dees loved Ogden and its people, and they helped support the community’s growth and prosperity — Janet with a sense of volunteerism that built and transformed local organizations, and Laurie through civic service and a successful career with Utah Canning Co.
In 1971 Janet and Laurie established their own foundation to further their charitable activities in Ogden and the surrounding area. After 61 years of marriage, Janet died in 1976, followed by Laurie a year later. Their only son, Thomas Duncombe Dee II (Tom), ran the foundation following his parents’ passing. Tom and his wife Elizabeth had two sons: Thomas Duncombe Dee III (Tim) and David Lawrence Dee. As soon as Tim and David began college they joined their father in running the foundation. Laurie and Janet’s legacy of giving is carried on today by a board of directors comprised of their two grandsons, Tim and David, and their great grandson Matthew T. Dee (Tim’s son).
While much of the Lawrence T. and Janet T. Dee Foundation’s giving remains with the McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden, both Tim and David and their families have contributed to many organizations, including the University of Utah. Tim has focused on the College of Nursing, serving on the Development Board for over 20 years and now chairing the Advisory Council.
During the economic downturn in 2008, the College needed funding to hire more faculty members in order to adequately staff clinical rotations. The Dee Foundation brought together their interests and resources to meet the need. When the building was renovated in 2010, The Dee Foundation funded part of the Intermountain Healthcare Simulation Learning Center (IHSLC), located on the first floor. And in September 2014, The Dee Foundation gave the College of Nursing $25,000 to support clinical faculty recruitment.
Generosity and thoughtfulness are qualities passed down through generations of the Dee family. Tim says the Foundation’s substantial support of nursing advances the commitment his grandparents made to education and health care during their lifetimes. As a result, many nursing students have been and will continue to be positively impacted.