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Requards Elevate Radiation Oncology

March 8, 2021
Thomas and Eleanor Requard owned a beautiful, historic 39-foot boat, the Isabel. From their second home on the Tred Avon River in St. Michaels, they would cruise the bright blue waters of the Chesapeake Bay, decompressing after long weeks spent working in Towson. Purchased from the Matthews Boating Company – itself a long-standing family business formed in 1890 in Denton, MD – the boat was their pride and joy. A classic with lots of wood and brass finishings, the couple could often be found, even into their 80s, on their hands and knees sanding and maintaining the Isabel.

It was just the kind of people Thomas and Eleanor were: a hardworking, dedicated couple who took precious care of everything they loved, including each other.

When Eleanor died in September 2019, just two months shy of her 105th birthday and 14 years after the death of her husband, GBMC recieved a $5 million bequest to support the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute in honor of the great care Thomas received.

"Mr. Requard had a wonderful relationship with his wife, who would always accompany him for his ongoing visits with me following treatment," said Dr. Robert Brookland, Chair of the Sheila K. Riggs Radiation Oncology Center, a GBMC HealthCare board member, and a philanthropist himself. "They were very thoughtful and kind people who cared about GBMC and the community at large, and it was a privilege to participate in Tom’s care. If I have any regrets, it is that I could never find the time to take them up on their offer of having a brief cruise and drinks on their pride and joy, the Isabel."

Thomas and Eleanor were grateful for the care Dr. Brookland provided, but their relationship with GBMC extends even further back. Eleanor’s personal representative and the couple’s long-time friend, Michael Brennan, shared Thomas' experience being treated for Guillain-Barre Syndrome more than 30 years ago.

"They were so impressed with the care he received," Michael said. "He was able to return to a completely normal, fully functioning life after being so ill. That really created a special place in their hearts for GBMC."

According to Michael, Eleanor was "a very determined woman. They were very devoted to each other. She came in every day and was a task master. She really pushed him hard with physical therapy and he had a complete recovery."

The Requards were not able to have children, though Eleanor devoted her life to childhood education. After graduating from Towson University (then Towson Normal) two years early at the age of 19, she entered the teaching profession, and, at one time, was selected by the Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools to establish the kindergarten program for the County.

Thomas and Eleanor were dedicated to their community, their work, their leisure, but, most importantly, to each other.

After retiring from teaching, Eleanor joined Thomas managing lower-income properties in the Essex/Middle River area, a business Thomas took over from his father. Their commitment to helping folks of somewhat limited means transferred to their philanthropy. All their bequests to healthcare institutions include a portion to support people who cannot afford the healthcare they need.

Because of their generosity, GBMC's cancer program received more than $5 million, 75% of which will be directed to the Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute, including radiation oncology, while the remaining 25% will be used to create a permanent endowment for the Berman Cancer Institute that will provide necessary healthcare to patients who are unable to afford it.

Their memories will be honored in the daily work of Dr. Brookland and the other talented, innovative, and compassionate physicians and staff who treat patients with cancer on a daily basis. Just as a boat requires dedication and commitment, so too does a cancer program for its community. In all aspects of their long lives, the Requards were hard-working and committed to sharing their good fortune with others and inspiring others to do so as well.
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