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Gregory Marcoe: Gaining a Legacy, Leaving a Legacy

“It’s all to honor my parents and what they sacrificed for us to get ahead in this world. It’s the right thing to do.”

“It’s a typical story of people who grew up and were married very young in the ‘50s,” Gregory Marcoe said. “They started their families before they had an opportunity for an education. But from the earliest moments of my life they urged me to learn, to go to college, to become educated. They took pride in my and my brother’s success. They influenced my children in the same way.”

    Marcoe, a 1987 MSUCOM alumnus, certainly did continue his education, and he remembers his parents with great respect and fondness. His father worked three jobs to support the family and help pay for college, and his brother and he were in the first generation in their family to earn degrees. But not all of the memories are as warm. His mother died from cancer, his father of lung cancer and pneumonia, and he remembers the difficulties to get them care, especially in the Upper Peninsula.

    “My mother had been seeing a doctor in Escanaba, who couldn’t put a finger on what was going on,” he said. “She came to visit me, with coughing and shortness of breath, and I showed her CT scan to a radiologist friend, who confirmed the cancer. She did well for four and a half years.

    “My dad had problems too, went for an ultrasound screening, and was diagnosed with an aneurysm, and later lung cancer. Escanaba didn’t have the specialties he needed, and he had to come to Midland, Michigan, for care. They often had to travel long distances in the winter.”

    “I give thanks to MSUCOM for accepting me and giving me a chance to be a doctor,” he said. “It has made a huge difference in my family’s life. It has given me the ability to help my parents and family when they needed it, which has been a great return on their investment in my education.”

    These three elements – gratitude for what his parents had provided, appreciation to MSUCOM for what it made possible in his life, and recognition of the need for improved medical care in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula – led Marcoe and his family, including his wife and four children, to create an endowed scholarship in honor of his parents, Joanne M. and Rene A. Marcoe.

    “Mom and Dad left us some money to make our lives easier, but we decided as a family to use a huge portion of it for a scholarship,” he said. “Our kids were as happy as we were to do it, because they recognize the importance of their grandparents and what they accomplished.”

     The scholarship will support students to enhance the possibility of producing good physicians to serve northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

    “We’re just starting,” Marcoe said. “My wife and I intend to make this our favorite charity, with a commitment to grow this fund and make a really big difference for more than one student. We will contribute to it every year as a planned donation, and our kids plan on donating to it also as they each complete their medical educations.” 

    “It’s all to honor my parents and what they sacrificed for us to get ahead in this world. It’s the right thing to do,” he said.