Once upon a time, a 19-year-old dairy farmer lit Pablo Picasso's cigarette on a beach in France.
At the time, this young man had no intention of getting into the family dairy farming business, until he meditated outside an abandoned church deep in the countryside along the Italian border. He pondered, overlooking a field of graves, lives taken during World War II, which had concluded four years earlier – "how dumb it was for people who fussed about so many things in life, when so many people would give their lives."
Today, that man, Richard F. "Dick" Price sits with his second wife, Mickey, of 22 years in their home on part of the 340-acre farm in northern Baltimore County he has spent a lifetime cultivating. He still wonders how people worry about the small things, when they have so much to be grateful for. Dick and Mickey have all they ever needed: an ever-growing family whom they shower with love and the opportunity to give back to the community they adore.
Being involved in the community is a value Dick and Mickey Price have both embraced, since before they met. As they contribute their fourth charitable gift annuity to GBMC, they continue a legacy Dick began back when the hospital was built.
"I got a couple phone calls when GBMC was trying to build the facility in 1965. I guess because I was active in some local farm organizations, they identified me," Dick said. "I was born at Women’s Hospital, and my sister, Ruth Yates, and sister-in-law, Genie Price, both earned their nursing degrees from Women’s. They were all interested in the conversion and coming to GBMC."
"Active in some local farm organizations," is an understatement. Dick has been a congregant of the Clynmalira United Methodist Church all his life and has served as Trustee and choir member there. He also served on the Board of Sparks State Bank for 35 years and was a member of the Southern States Cooperative where he was one of its directors in Richmond for 36 years. Additionally, he was an advisory committee member for four years with Nationwide Insurance, and has been a member of the Timonium Optimist Club for 63 years, serving in various leadership roles including president at ages 28 and 88. He also served as the Vice President of Optimist International.
As a shrewd businessman, Dick always understood the importance of being part of the community.
"I was never concerned with being the best farmer in town, but I was called one of the more efficient farmers," Dick said. "I had a philosophy that was different from a lot of other people. I often heard, "‘We’re too busy!’ — Well, all farmers are busy, I can tell you that, but I found that when I worked with the community — whether it was farm bureau, GBMC, Southern States or other activities — that the more activities I got involved in, the better planner I became.
"Community involvement made me a different person."
At the time of his recruitment to serve on the advisory committee for a newly-built hospital in Baltimore County, Dick was president of the Baltimore County Farm Bureau. The advisory committee dissolved not long thereafter, but Dick was one of the three members who were asked to serve on the newly formed GBMC Board of Trustees. He would also serve on the hospital’s Institutional Review Board for the next 35 years.
His leadership commitment might have been what led him to GBMC initially, but it was the relationships that influenced him to stay.
"The people we’ve met at GBMC had as much to do with it as anything," Dick said. "We’ve both used the Emergency Room, many times. Sometimes you feel like when you’re suffering, a minute seems like an hour. I’m sure you have heard that from all the patients who come here, but we felt well taken care of."
"The nurses, the doctors, techs, all of them," Mickey added, "were all really nice."
Mickey humbly said her life, "wasn’t that exciting," before going into detail about how she learned bookkeeping on the job. She also took over her first husband’s dry-cleaning delivery business, while running six apartment houses she purchased from the bank for $1, after agreeing to take over the mortgages. She raised three boys, and was office manager for 14 different physicians. She also served as the second female governor in the history of the Maryland District Optimists and currently serves as the Executive Director for the Childhood Cancer Family Support Foundation.
Maybe the reason Dick and Mickey are modest about their many accomplishments is because they believe their greatest achievement has been their family. Among 32 immediate family members, they have been blessed to see five great, great-grandchildren grow up. Family is the main reason Dick decided to contribute another charitable gift annuity to GBMC.
"First of all, I want to make sure Mickey’s protected if something happens to me," Dick said. "Secondly, at our age, the rates are very attractive. The money’s going to an institution that we care very deeply about, and it is helping us, because we are getting tax benefits. My attorney felt we would have more tax benefits giving outright, and she felt we didn’t need the income. But, I like the income coming in, because it gives us the chance to give cash to my family, while we’re still living."
GBMC is grateful to the Prices for their foresight and planning and is proud to have them as members of the Elizabeth Duncan Yaggy and Joseph S. Keelty Societies.