Family Stories

Leaving a Legacy

Jack and Barbara Pavlat had their only child, Suzanne, later in life and she was their world. When Suzanne was three she was diagnosed with cancer. They were living in Virginia Beach, Virginia at the time. During her treatment, they stayed at Ronald McDonald Houses in Washington, D.C., and San Antonio, Texas, but nothing compared to their experience at Ronald McDonald House of Memphis.  

Between taking his daughter to her appointments, Jack spent the little free time he had volunteering at Ronald McDonald House of Memphis to help take his mind off of things. He liked the feeling he received from volunteering and he enjoyed interacting with the staff. No task was too small for him. 

Sadly, after years of battling cancer, their daughter Suzanne passed away in 2001. Jack and Barbara truly have servants’ hearts and in memory of Suzanne, they’ve been volunteering at Ronald McDonald House for years.

The Pavlats travel round trip from their home in Virginia Beach to Memphis to volunteer around the Christmas holidays. 

Jack fills in on nights and weekends for the Operations team so they can take some time off during the holidays and Barbara does crafts with the kids and helps keep the toy room organized.   In 2013, Jack and Barbara became founding members of the Legacy Society of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Memphis.

The Pavlats have included Ronald McDonald House of Memphis in their Will.  They want to make sure that the love, comfort and support that was extended to them and their Suzanne is available to other families for years to come.

“If you have even a small amount of wealth, it’s important that you do something good with it,” Jack said. “We couldn’t think of a more deserving place than Ronald McDonald House of Memphis.  It truly is a place of hope.”

Posted by John Parie at 10:25 AM
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