VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation Donor Story

Farmer’s legacy funding the future of brain health

Charlene Taylor, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation


Charlene Taylor
Senior Associate Director, Gift and Estate Planning
VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation

When Fred Town was looking for the perfect place to leave a gift in his will that would impact brain health in BC, he turned to his closest confidants for advice. His executor, John Wood, and John’s accountant, Garry Cowan, reached out to their contacts in the health care community to see if there was an opportunity to fulfill Fred’s wishes.

Fred Town (right) and his longtime friend May James. PHOTO SUBMITTED BY JOHN WOOD

All it took was one phone call and they connected with the Gift and Estate Planning team at VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, and Fred’s legacy was set in motion.

Fred was born in 1925 into a family with six other siblings, including an identical twin brother named Bert. When he was older, he worked the shipyards in Vancouver until he and two of his brothers started their own mink farm in 1947. It was there he truly found happiness and built his legacy.

“Fred had this great interest in the brain — the cortex specifically,” says John. “So VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation arranged for us to have a tour of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health (DMCBH) to find out exactly what was going on there.”

After the tour, John and Garry thought DMCBH was the perfect match for Fred. They explained their findings to him — the vital research for brain health and the clinical researchers who are working to transform health care in BC.

Fred decided it was a great fit and left an incredibly generous gift to VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation in his will. Through his generosity researchers are pursuing new, creative ideas to better understand and treat brain diseases. Donor funding is vital for kickstarting innovative, original ideas and will impact British Columbians for years to come.

“Fred was such a warm, generous soul,” says John. “Despite living through the Depression, suffering through hard times and doing very physically demanding work, he was always the kind of person to give someone the clothing off his back.”

Fred’s legacy is now forever tied to brain health and health care transformation in BC, just as he wished.

VGH UBC Hospital Foundation

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