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Q: Danny Thomas's St. Jude hospital ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Danny Thomas's St. Jude hospital
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Celebrities
Asked by: zappachance-ga
List Price: $3.00
Posted: 03 Dec 2005 16:36 PST
Expires: 02 Jan 2006 16:36 PST
Question ID: 601066
Is there any explanation of why Danny Thomas chose Memphis to build
his St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital? I know the story of how
he promised St. Jude to build a hospital, but(since he was born in
Michigan and died in LA), what led him to choose Memphis, and to be
buried in Memphis?
Subject: Re: Danny Thomas's St. Jude hospital
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 03 Dec 2005 17:02 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Danny Thomas was troubled by a news story about a young
African-American boy who died because he was refused admission to a
segregated hospital. This caused Thomas to want to show his thanks to
God and St. Jude by building a racially-neutral children's hospital in
the South. The final choice of Memphis as the location was influenced
by his mentor Cardinal Stritch, the Archbishop of Chicago, who
suggested Memphis (the site of his first parish).

Here's an excerpt from a Larry King interview with Marlo Thomas, the
daughter of Danny Thomas:

"[LARRY] KING: Why Memphis?

[MARLO] THOMAS: Well he wanted to put in it the south because he had
read one time in the paper; in fact he had it tacked on his wall,
about a young black boy who died because no hospital would take him
after an accident. So he said one time to us, as a family, he said I'm
going to put the hospital in the south because there was a lot of
discussion about putting it in Boston or putting it in St. Louis
connecting it to some of those great hospitals. He said let's put it
in the south and then Cardinal [Stritch] in Chicago said I'll help you
to put it in Memphis because that's where he was from, so they put it

CNN Transcripts 

From the hospital's own website:

"And through all his success, Thomas searched for a way to fulfill his
vow to create a shrine for St. Jude Thaddeus. Thomas met with Samuel
Cardinal Stritch, the man who performed Thomas? Catholic confirmation
service, to talk about this 'shrine.' During the meeting, Thomas
blurted out, 'What about a hospital?' The Cardinal liked the idea and
steered Thomas to Memphis, Tennessee."

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital: Danny's Dream,2883,646_3848_9940,00.html

From the Daily Catholic's series, "TOP 100 CATHOLICS OF THE CENTURY":

"He had been contemplating what he would do to repay God for his good
fortune and kept looking toward the back country of the Mississippi
Delta to establish some kind of home or medical center to help the
very poor of Louisiana. In 1955 with his career well on its way, he
approached his mentor, Cardinal Samuel Stritch, then the Archbishop of
Chicago, and asked for his advice. The cardinal wasn't shy and
counseled Danny to look toward Memphis. It had been the location of
the cardinal's first parish. Even though Memphis already housed one
children's pediatric hospital - the LeBonheur Children's Medical
Center, Cardinal Stritch felt there was room for more and Memphis was
centrally located."

Daily Catholic: Danny Thomas Going beyond his promise to God for the children,vol.10,no.151txt/aug12dc1.htm

Google Web Search: "danny thomas" "why memphis" OR "memphis because"

I hope this is precisely what you need. If anything is unclear or
incomplete, please request clarification; I'll be glad to offer
further assistance before you rate my answer.

Best regards,
zappachance-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.00
thanks for the quick, complete answer, and for the education in
searching (incl. closer reading of hospital site). I assume he was so
pleased with the results that that explains his decision to be buried
in Memphis.

Subject: Re: Danny Thomas's St. Jude hospital
From: pinkfreud-ga on 03 Dec 2005 20:49 PST
Thank you for the tip.


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