With expertise in property management and a love of gardens, Samuel and Terry Wright have spent the last 30 years transforming a historic 17-acre property in the Watsonville foothills into their dream home and landscape. Both had significant experience with garden design and development, so along with installing a pool, tennis court, lawns, farm pond and trellises, they planted more than 1,000 trees and a classical English rose garden. The project continues today with an extensive vegetable garden, orchard and plant nursery.
PAMF has a rich history as a caring medical organization with exemplary care.
But acquiring the property, which they’ve enjoyed as their permanent home for the last 15 years, actually began quite chaotically. “We were scheduled to close escrow on October 18, 1989, the day after the Loma Prieta earthquake hit Santa Cruz County,” Samuel says. “Our documents and funds were in an old brick building that collapsed, burying our transaction. So fate threw us a temporary curveball, but the escrow closed a week later with new documentation.”
Having spent a large portion of his career in real estate brokerage and property management, Samuel took the events in stride, and he and Terry carried on with their project.
Even now, at 91 years old, Samuel isn’t one to back down from a challenge. Though he has seen dramatic swings in his real estate business during the pandemic, he still has no desire to retire from the career he started 63 years ago in Menlo Park.
“You have to keep your brain working and stay mentally fit in addition to taking care of your body,” Samuel says. “I am actively involved in many of the more technical leasing arrangements and other legal issues at the company — all while I enjoy my roses, camellias and fruit trees from my home office.”
Samuel also stays active as secretary of his graduate school class at Stanford, where he earned his MBA and his children and grandchildren have also received degrees. He has also volunteered to teach management skills to several local nonprofits over the years. And as an avid historian of early California life, he spearheaded a successful fundraising campaign to restore the Carmel Mission, where he was a longtime member of the choir.
Longstanding Connection to PAMF
Samuel’s ties to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation run deep. He was born at the old Peninsula Hospital on Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto in 1930, the same year that Russel V. Lee, M.D., formed the Palo Alto Medical Clinic. His mother’s obstetrician, Edward Liston, M.D., was one of the early physicians to join the new medical group. Another PAMF co-founder, Esther Clark, M.D., was Samuel’s pediatrician and later cared for his and Terry’s children, John and Sam, who were delivered by Philip Lee, M.D., son of Dr. Russell Lee.
Raised in Atherton, Samuel attended the same school as Dr. Liston’s son Teddy. At age 13, he met Terry, also 13, at a party at the Menlo Circus Club, and they were married eight years later.
The Wrights carved out a rich social life over the years, counting former PAMF president and CEO Robert Jamplis, M.D., and his wife, Roberta, as close friends. Samuel sang in several light opera performances in Atherton and San Francisco as benefits for the Peninsula Volunteers. He even sang the lead in “Dogpatch USA,” which included an act by the Jamplises. “We had some raucous times with Bob and Bobby,” Samuel laughs.
Once their “country” home outside Watsonville became their permanent residence, the Wrights shifted their medical care to the Santa Cruz Medical Clinic. Timothy Allari, M.D., joined the practice as an internist in 1999, and he remains their primary care physician today. Then, as fate would have it, PAMF resurfaced in their lives: In 2002, the Santa Cruz Medical Foundation affiliated with PAMF to create PAMF’s Santa Cruz Division.
Honoring the Past, Planting Seeds for Tomorrow
The Wrights’ many longstanding, personal connections to PAMF have only bolstered their tremendous respect for the organization. “PAMF has a rich history as a caring medical organization with exemplary care,” Samuel explains. “I cannot say enough about the consistently high-quality care at PAMF.”
When asked what sets the organization apart, he says there isn’t one particular medical incident or aspect of care. Rather, he is most impressed that PAMF has been able to care for a variety of medical needs for him and his family, always with deep compassion.
“My healthcare has been a bit of a smorgasbord,” Samuel says. “I have received great care and am terribly fond of Dr. Allari, who has been our counselor and quarterback, guiding me through anemia, pneumonia and heart issues and referring us to specialists. Simply put, PAMF has been a highly satisfactory, near-lifetime experience for us, and I feel that my family and I owe the organization a deep debt of gratitude.”
When thinking about how he and Terry could support PAMF financially, he circled back to Dr. Allari and all that he has meant to them. He also reflected on his conversations with some of the newer doctors at PAMF Santa Cruz, who have mentioned the difficulty of relocating to the area from out of state due to the disproportionately high cost of housing — notwithstanding their admiration for PAMF and the high-quality medical care we are renowned for.
Therefore, Samuel decided to make a meaningful contribution to PAMF that could lay the groundwork for a larger fund focused on attracting primary care doctors to the organization. He wants to ensure that future PAMF caregivers possess the same skill level and caring spirit that he has benefitted from for more than 90 years.
“My life has not been dramatic so much as it has been full,” Samuel reflects. “I’ve assembled several different pieces, all fulfilling, and now I am honored to give back to the community.”