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A $2 Million Donation in Honor of Her Brother

Marcia Billhartz, a Collinsville, Illinois, native and area philanthropist, wanted to find a way to honor her brother, Edward Allan. The two are very close. In fact, Billhartz said she and her younger brother, now well into adulthood, are still connected at the hip. So, Billhartz decided to donate a very generous $2 million to Shriners Children’s St. Louis in his name. This donation leaves a lasting legacy that will help kids for years to come.

Allan, a longtime Shriner, served as the leader of the southern Illinois chapter of Shriners International in 2018. He has spent decades working on behalf of the patients at Shriners Children’s St. Louis.

This is the largest outright gift ever for the St. Louis hospital – a facility that provides highly specialized orthopedic medical care to children regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

Officials at the hospital, including two national-level board members and the top-ranking Shriner internationally, offered to name the hospital’s lobby after Allan at his sister’s request. That way, generations to come may know Allan’s passion for helping kids.

“Ed has been a Shriner for decades and we, over the years, have attended a lot of Shriners events together. The Shriners are all such good people. My brother, of course, is the best in the whole wide world. So, it just led me to give the donation in honor of all the great work he’s done for kids,” explained Billhartz.

I am so proud of my brother and his dedication to this mission – that he would volunteer nearly a decade of his life serving on the leadership line on Ainad Shriners to make a difference in the life of children.
Marcia Billhartz

Beyond Allan’s support of the hospital, Billhartz said several of her family members have been served by the care team at Shriners Children’s St. Louis. So, the donation is very special to her. Admittedly, though, Billhartz said her ability to give this large of a donation comes as a bit of a surprise.

“There was never a thought in my mind that I would be able to do this,” explained Billhartz.

Billhartz said her husband’s hard work and sacrifices gave her the ability to donate in this capacity. She was married to the late Warren Billhartz, a prominent banker and lawyer in southern Illinois, who passed away in 2006. He served the state in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1955-1961, as well as an assistant Illinois attorney general. He later was the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of a large bank located in southern Illinois. He and Marcia married in 1979.

“It humbles us to know that someone of Mrs. Billhartz’s generosity would want to honor her brother by giving so generously to Shriners Children’s,” said William S. “Bill” Bailey, Imperial Potentate of Shriners International.

“This is the largest outright gift any one donor has given specifically to Shriners Children’s St. Louis, and it’s perfectly fitting that we name our lobby for Illustrious Sir Edward Allan,” he continued.

Marcia with friend, both holding artwork


“Edward is very proud to be a Shriner and the accomplishments they make in assisting children requiring world class specialized medical care. I am so proud of my brother and his dedication to this mission,” said Billhartz.

“It’s people like Ms. Billhartz and Illustrious Sir Ed who continue to inspire us as board members and volunteers, our patient and families and our staff members at the hospital, reminding us of the important mission we have the privilege of carrying out because of their generous support,” said Jerry Gantt, President and CEO of Shriners Children's.

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