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Giving back is sweet music to Roberta and Stanley Marks

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2020 edition of Promise magazine.

Roberta and Stanley Marks are in harmony about helping others. Now retired, they split their time between Akron and Scottsdale, Arizona, supporting hospitals, schools, musical organizations and other nonprofit entities in both communities.

Their recent major gift to Summa Health strengthens the health system’s ability to enhance the patient experience and advance clinical excellence — goals of the campaign for Summa Health, “Caring for You … Then, Now, Always.” Daughter-in-law Jeannine Marks serves on the Campaign Executive Committee. Jeannine and her husband, Steve Marks, are familiar to most Akronites as the founders of the Akron Marathon, another initiative promoting community health.

In addition to their recent gift, Roberta and Stanley Marks have made significant gifts to various clinical areas highlighted at the annual Sapphire Balls, most recently for Cancer Institute Patient Support Services. Summa’s hospice and palliative care patients are other beneficiaries who have felt the warmth of their generosity.

Mr. Marks, who had surgery last winter, said, “Summa took really good care of me. They brought in doctors from every department. They pulled me through.” 

“We have always had great care at Summa,” said Mrs. Marks.

In addition to their desire to give back, Mr. and Mrs. Marks share a love of music. They met for the first time more than 30 years ago as nonclinical volunteer musicians in the mostly all-clinical Akron Doctors’ Orchestra, now Akron Pops Orchestra.

“The Doctors’ Orchestra was always in need of musicians who could play stringed instruments,” said Mrs. Marks. “Stan and I both play violin.”

As such, the orchestra made an exception for the young lady, a music teacher at the time, and the young gentleman, who worked in his family’s real estate business.

Music and medicine are a natural mix in the Marks family. Son Neal Marks is a podiatrist. Roberta Marks’ father was a doctor; her mother was a nurse.

“My parents always encouraged me to learn more about everything,” said Mrs. Marks. She took their advice to heart. As a student at the University of Michigan, she wrote her master’s thesis on the history of music therapy, a study that was in its infancy at the time. Summa Health and hospitals across the nation now recognize music therapy as an important component of patient care.

To make a gift to Summa Health, call 330.375.3159 or visit


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