Driving on highway 101 in Marin County, Novato Community Hospital (NCH) is instantly recognizable — a central part of the community at this location for nearly 20 years. The man at the helm beginning in 1990 was Lowell Smith. Along with his wife, Marilyn, the couple dedicated themselves to Novato, to serve the community and build the highest quality healthcare experience locally.
I’m so grateful to the community, and proud to see what we built here in Novato.
“I spent lots of time in the community with Dr. Palmer White, building support from the City of Novato, service clubs, city planners, home owners associations, you name it in the community, getting to know the needs and values of Novato,” says Lowell Smith, former vice president and Novato Community Hospital chief administrator. The capital campaign, under the leadership of Ned Dean, raised more than $4 million—the largest amount ever raised in Novato. “Sutter’s vision and our mandate in the 90s was to bring a new healthcare paradigm to the community that incorporated more outpatient services, the highest quality information technology and equipment and an integrated physician network that is now the standard in the 21st century.”
Emergency preparedness has served NCH well, whether facing wildfires or global pandemic. NCH played a key role during the Santa Rosa wildfires, taking in patients immediately and serving as a command post for Sutter’s response throughout the North Bay. The hospital has reinvented and reinforced safety procedures as a result of the coronavirus as it reopens all the health services the community has come to rely on.
A Legacy for Novato Community Hospital
Lowell worked in hospital administration for forty-two years. Prior to NCH, he was Assistant Administrator at Stanford Medical Center during the construction of a hospital there in 1959. He also spent 25 years as President of Interhealth and CEO of Presbyterian-Intercommunity Hospital in Whittier, California. Marilyn has been passionately involved as well. Before the pandemic she managed the hospital Gift Shop, a destination boutique in Novato. She was the driving force behind many fundraising efforts at NCH including leading the volunteers to secure the majority of the funding for 3D mammography, floral design shows and the Lobby fountain/sculpture.
“In addition to the healing art collection throughout the hospital, everyone wanted a water feature,” explains Marilyn. “I knew if Lowell passed away, his colleagues and friends from Novato and Southern California would want to honor Lowell for all his dedication to quality healthcare in the communities he served.”
Aptly titled Resilience, the fountain is now a sculpture, but Marilyn’s hunch was right. She raised more than $40,000 in just a couple of days. Just before the hospital’s ribbon cutting, Lowell was completely surprised at a ceremony dedicating the fountain to him.
“I’m so grateful to the community, and proud to see what we built here in Novato,” says Lowell. “Our focus on creating a comforting and healing environment, rooted in caring and respect for everyone has stood the test of time and we want to continue to help it attract the best and brightest to serve our growing and diverse community.”
As NCH plans for a new 20th Anniversary Campaign, Lowell and Marilyn have generously included NCH in their estate plan, further adding to their legacy and commitment to providing the best quality healthcare close to home.
“We are fortunate to have dedicated leaders and loyal donors like the Smiths who choose to invest in our not-for-profit mission by joining our Legacy Society,” says Ryan Lee, senior gift planning officer. “Their commitment to advancing healthcare will be a legacy well served by our hospital and our community will benefit for generations.”
If you are interested in the benefits of planned giving for your family, contact Ryan Pocock at email@example.com.