J.S. and Lillie Abercrombie Society
In 1994, Texas Children’s Hospital established the J. S. and Lillie Abercrombie Society to honor its first major benefactors, whose kindness and foresight helped create Texas Children’s. Today, through the Abercrombie Society, Texas Children’s recognizes and pays tribute to people who have included the hospital in their estate plans.
Throughout their lives, James Smither and Lillie Abercrombie gave generously to important causes in Houston. In 1946, Leopold L. Meyer approached Jim Abercrombie, owner of Cameron Iron Works, to help raise the $2.5 million dollars needed to build a children’s hospital in Houston.
“Would this hospital be open to every sick or hurt child with no restrictions on religion, creed, color or whether or not you could pay?” Abercrombie asked.
“Absolutely,” he was told. “It’ll be written in the bylaws.”
So, he agreed to contribute $1 million of the cost and cover the hospital’s deficits for the first five years. Ground was broken in 1951, and Texas Children’s Hospital, a landmark in pediatric care, was dedicated in 1953.
Abercrombie took great satisfaction from Texas Children’s, but the financial plight of the hospital was of growing concern to him and Lillie for many years. The situation became more acute when a decision was made to expand Texas Children’s Hospital, but Abercrombie was already seeking a long-range answer to the escalating needs of the hospital and its young patients.
In late 1967, the Abercrombies made their greatest contribution when they created a trust to provide ongoing support for Texas Children’s by forming the J. S. Abercrombie Foundation.
Leopold Meyer once said, “There are many charitable people in Houston, but if there are any who have exceeded Jim and Lillie Abercrombie in kindness and gracious giving in proportion to their means, it has not been my opportunity to meet them. The Abercrombies have contributed their wealth and time to every worthy cause and have been beloved by all who have known them.”
Although not all gifts can be as generous as the Abercrombies, every gift, no matter the size, is appreciated. We encourage you to let us know if you’ve included Texas Children’s in your estate plans, either through your will, a trust, a gift annuity or life insurance policy. Abercrombie Society members are invited to an annual luncheon and tour and are recognized (if they so choose) in Developments magazine.
For more information on making a planned gift to Texas Children’s, please contact Brena Baumann-Gonzalez, JD,, at 832-824-2718, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of the above information was adapted from Mr. Jim: The Biography of James Smither Abercrombie.