The Charles Deering Legacy Advisor Leadership Council, established in October 2014, includes the region’s leading legal, financial and wealth planning professionals. Council members assist Summa benefactors in structuring their estate or planned gifts. The council was named for industrialist and philanthropist, Charles Deering, who left a significant bequest which founded Summa St. Thomas Hospital.
Charles Deering - Visionary and Philanthropist
Charles Deering (1852 - 1927) was an industrialist and a visionary leader in the farm machinery industry (as Frank Seiberling was in the rubber industry). In 1907, Deering bought Akron Works, a farm machinery company, and incorporated it with his other manufacturing holdings – these holdings would eventually become the International Harvester Company. Though he did not live in Akron, Deering had a great fondness for the city and wanted Akron to have a “Sisters’ hospital” that would be operated by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Augustine. (This religious order also operated Charity Hospital in Cleveland.) In his will, Charles Deering left a bequest to establish a Sister’s Hospital in Akron, with the only stipulation being that the hospital would be named “Saint Thomas Hospital,” in honor of his friend, Rev. Thomas F. Mahar. Father Thomas Mahar was pastor of Saint Vincent Parish in Akron for 34 years from 1880 until his death in 1914.
With Charles Deering’s estate commitment, the Akron community formed a fundraising committee in support of the new St. Thomas Hospital. Akron area parishes and individual residents contributed $800,000 to the effort. Saint Thomas Hospital was dedicated on September 24, 1928 and the first patient was admitted 6 days later on September 30, 1928.