One of the first things you notice about Anne Steinmann and Stan Lowenberg is how comfortable they are in each others’ company. When you get to know them, you realize it makes perfect sense, because it’s apparent that they share core a philosophy: caring for others.
This philosophy is embodied not only by their mutual careers as physicians, but also in their retirement activities as volunteers. Anne continues her longtime association with Hospice of the East Bay as a member of its board of directors as well as making wonderful creative contributions such as designing and constructing the beautiful garden at Bruns House and the notecards that are sent to our grieving families. Stan volunteers weekly on the telephone with his favorite charity, lending his well-developed ability to listen carefully and help guide concerned callers through a maze of difficult and critical decisions.
At a time when people who had incredibly rewarding and busy careers might have chosen to simply relax in retirement, this couple continues to help others in meaningful ways. Their support has also included their generous decision to join Hospice of the East Bay’s Legacy Society, b y including us in their estate plans.
Anne and Stan reside in a cozy Lafayette home. The two things they are most proud of are the photos of their newest grandchild, and the natural setting of their beautiful back yard which includes the last remaining tree from an old pear orchard.
Stan is the only son of a Jewish family from the East Coast. He had the benefit of being very close to both his mother and her twin sister. Vital to his story is the fact that his mother and aunt provided love without spoiling him. Rather, their love and guidance instilled in him a compassion for others that led to a long career as an otolaryngologist.
Anne grew up in England, where she studied medicine, and spent the first part of her career as an anesthesiologist. After several years as an attending physician in London, she came to North America. She practiced anesthesiology and academic medicine in Boston and Toronto, and eventually made her way to Southern California.
Anne had known about the hospice movement almost from its beginning. In the late 1960s, she lived around the corner from St. Christopher’s Hospice, the facility founded by Cicely Saunders. She saw firsthand how supporters worked together to raise the enormous amount of money needed to create this facility. She had a friend who worked at St Christopher’s as a nurse and introduced her to a patient and family centered philosophy of end-of-life care.
However, it wasn’t until she returned to England in 1987 that she would find out how important hospice would become to her family. During that time her father was diagnosed with cancer. As he reached the end of his life, she arranged for him to be admitted to an inpatient hospice in Exeter, where he died very comfortably after five days. “When I walked through the door to visit my father, I realized that this was what I wanted to do when I grew up.”
Anne determined that she would follow her plan of working in hospice care in the United States. She persuaded the staff of St. Christopher’s to allow her to participate in their daily routine. When Anne moved back to Southern California, she made her transition into the field of hospice.
Shortly thereafter, a friend of hers introduced her to Stan. During their first date they discovered that they had crossed paths many times before, in their professional careers, but never met face to face. Their date was so successful that they have been inseparable ever since.
Toward the end of his career, Stan explored his interest in treating vocal disorders, and did pioneering work in the field. Upon his retirement, Anne and Stan moved to Northern California, where they settled in happily.
Anne was interested in continuing her career in hospice care. Through her membership on the Board of the California Hospice and Palliative Care Association, she was given the opportunity to work with Hospice of the East Bay. “I worked as assistant medical director,” she says “and was very involved in the establishment of Bruns House, where I was privileged to become the first full-time physician.”
Although Anne retired in 2003, she continues to work tirelessly as a member of our board of directors. We are very fortunate that fate brought Anne and Stan together, and that they choose to support us with their time, talent, and financial support. We are also very grateful that they have included us in their estate plans.