Munson Health
Jay and Judy Zrimec

Note: This first appeared in the Fall 2010 issue of Focus.

As a former banking executive and one of the founders of the Munson Healthcare Regional Foundation, Jay Zrimec understands the finer points of charitable giving. When he and his wife, Judy, sat down to work on their will, it was an easy decision to include a gift that would support Munson Medical Center.

"Because of my close connection, I knew that Munson needs these kinds of gifts," Jay said. "When you’re making decisions like these, you want to make sure that your money is well used. Munson projects are always on schedule and on budget. If Munson is doing a project, we know it’s going to get done and it will serve the community well. It was not hard for us to see that this was a good place for us to make our planned gift."

During Jay’s 21-year career with Munson, he started and developed the Munson Healthcare Regional Foundation and successfully led five major fundraising campaigns that provided nearly $28 million in community support for Munson projects.

"While I was at the Foundation, I saw that some of our biggest gifts were made through wills," Jay said. "Judy and I now know that this money is placed in our will for Munson Medical Center. A will is a good vehicle to use and it can constantly be updated so it remains current with your wishes." Following retirement in 2006, the Zrimecs moved to Venice, Fla., but it may not be a permanent move. Having good medical care is a key part of deciding where they will live as they get older. "We have always wanted to live for a period of time in Florida," Jay said. "It’s a family tradition. Judy’s parents and my grandparents lived there for years. We think maybe we’ll end up back in Traverse City, and Munson is a part of that decision."

The Zrimecs were recently in Traverse City for a visit with the couple’s two sons and their families, who live in Traverse City and Grandville.  

"Munson has taken care of us when we’ve needed it," Judy said. "Three of our grandchildren were born there, Jay had cancer surgery there, I’ve had diagnostic care including a trip to the heart cath lab. Through all of that, we could see the steps that were taken to provide good care, and we had a high level of comfort being there."

Jay noted that community concerns about local donations remaining local is an issue he encountered several times as president of the Foundation. "The same concern was raised when Munson purchased Traverse City Osteopathic Hospital, Paul Oliver Memorial, and Leelanau Memorial," he said. "There is a legal requirement to use gifts exactly in the way the donor desires, but even more importantly, there is a spirit that it’s the right thing to do. Every donation is an opportunity to do the right thing, and that’s what Munson always has and always will do."

Jay believes that he and Judy will return to northern Michigan when the time is right for them. "We will be coming back because ultimately family and home trumps weather."