Tod Spieker likes consistency. The California native grew up in Menlo Park, in a house his parents owned for 55 years, and he left Northern California only briefly to attend college. He has been married to Cathy for nearly half a century and has had only three jobs throughout his decades-long real estate career. And when it comes to healthcare, Tod has been a Palo Alto Medical Foundation patient since birth. “The first doctor’s visit I can remember was with Dr. Cutter, when I was probably five years old,” he says. “I’ve had only six doctors in my lifetime, most recently Hank Jones and Hugo Yang,” referring to PAMF family physician Hank Jones III, M.D., and concierge physician Hugo Yang, M.D.
We consider PAMF a local success story with an excellent reputation
However, Tod and Cathy haven’t continued to choose PAMF for their healthcare only to avoid change. They’ve stayed because they are consistently satisfied with the high level of compassionate, personalized care they and their entire family receives. Grateful, they give back to PAMF, graciously donating their time and money to support continued excellence in their own backyard.
Pursuing a Passion in Real Estate
While Tod was earning his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles—his brief stint away from the Bay Area—he also took night classes to earn his real estate license. “I found I loved real estate more than any of my classes at UCLA,” he says. “It’s not that I didn’t enjoy college, but real estate was just so fascinating.” During his senior year, he enrolled in additional classes at Foothill College, the College of San Mateo and Santa Monica City College. Tod remembers one particular appraisal class teacher who further stoked his interest in real estate.
“I loved the valuation techniques he was teaching,” Tod says. “He was such a good teacher that I guess I ended up in real estate.” Upon graduating from UCLA, he needed just four more months to secure his broker’s license. Shortly after Tod moved back to Northern California, a friend arranged a blind date for him and Cathy. He tried to turn it down, saying he was preoccupied with getting a job. “But my friend said, ‘Spieker, you’re not looking for a job on Saturday,’” Tod laughs. “That practical advice led me to meet my wife of 48 years.”
Tod and Cathy built a life together, having three children and advancing their careers. Tod’s first job out of three was at an office in Menlo Park, scouting land in the western U.S. for the company to purchase and build apartment complexes. A dip in the market led him to his second job, at Coldwell Banker, on the commercial brokerage side of the business.
Before long, Tod branched off to start his own enterprise, Spieker Companies Inc., buying and managing apartment buildings. His holdings are concentrated in the mid-Peninsula between Redwood City and Sunnyvale, but extend throughout the Silicon Valley and into Los Angeles.
At 74, Tod shows no sign of slowing down, continuing to work whenever he is in town. “God will tell me when I need to retire, physically or mentally, but until then I still enjoy work,” he says.
He and Cathy’s kids are now adults, and they remain close with them and their 10 grandchildren, six of whom live less than four miles away. They also maintain strong bonds with their extended family, which is nearly 100 members strong.
Investing in the Health of the Community
Beyond trusting PAMF for the family’s healthcare, the Spiekers are longtime supporters of the organization. Their devotion was borne out of the close friendship that Tod and his father shared with the late Robert Jamplis, M.D., former PAMF president.
“Bob asked us to give to support PAMF and also asked Cathy to serve on the PAMF Community Board of Trustees because of her background as a nurse,” Tod recalls. “We said yes to both, as we consider PAMF a local success story with an excellent reputation.”
As a businessman, Tod understands that running a thriving healthcare organization is expensive and requires community donations. “I know PAMF can’t survive on patient visits alone—it needs more funding to keep up with the times,” he says. “If an organization is well funded, it is more dependable. And with PAMF right here in my backyard, I know that it is very dependable.”The Spiekers feel fortunate to be reasonably healthy. Yet one day in February 2021, Cathy woke up with unexplained knee pain, which ultimately led to their latest generous offering.
When consulting with orthopedic surgeon Colin Eakin, M.D., Tod asked the doctor if he needed anything for his practice. Dr. Eakin expressed an interest in a specific MRI for sports medicine. So later that year, Tod and Cathy made a significant pledge to purchase that MRI and establish the Catherine and Tod Spieker Sports Medicine Center in Palo Alto.
“We were happy to help buy the latest equipment for Dr. Eakin’s practice,” Tod says. PAMF is proud to serve multiple generations of families in the Silicon Valley, and we are grateful when those families choose to support our mission to provide the best possible healthcare for the community. The Spiekers are a great example of our organization consistently providing care for a family—and that family, in turn, supporting PAMF.