The Gift of Women’s Health Care
Frank Comfort’s blue eyes would twinkle with delight as he told the story of being born on Mother’s Day, May 11, 1924. He felt it was the reason he was blessed to have his mother, Marie; his wives, Maryann and Connie; and his daughters, Debbi and Connie, in his life.
The Power of Faith
Faith is foundational to the entire Comfort family, and the reason they never hesitate to share their spiritual gifts. At the core of their generosity is a strong Catholic faith, and their desire to fund projects that support the mission of another dynamic group of women, the Sisters of Mercy, who dedicated their lives to providing care for all in need.
For three generations, the Comfort family has generously supported initiatives benefiting the health care needs for many within our community. Marie Comfort started the tradition by donating to Mercy for decades. She is best known for her donation to help renovate 6 South, which was fondly known then as the “Comfort Suites.”
Frank continued this rich philanthropic tradition. As a successful Des Moines attorney, he served on a number of community boards including both Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines and the Mercy Foundation Board of Directors, offering many years of professional expertise and leadership. Frank and his wife, Maryann, contributed significantly to nearly every Mercy initiative including Mercy College of Health Sciences, Mercy Hospice, Bishop Drumm Retirement Center, the Mercy Sleep Lab and numerous other medical center services including the expansion and renovation of Our Lady of Mercy Chapel at Mercy’s central campus and the construction of the chapel at Mercy West Lakes. Frank was recognized as an inaugural member of Mercy’s Gilead Circle, an honor given to donors who have made a tremendous difference over time through their generosity.
A dream is realized: bringing comprehensive women’s health care to central Iowa
Frank’s daughters Debbi Miller and Connie Comfort, now carry the philanthropic torch for the family. In October 2012, two days before Frank suffered a stroke, he expressed his desire to support the establishment of a women’s center at Mercy to honor all of the women he was blessed to have in his life.
“After our father passed away, we were determined to fulfill his wish,” related Debbi and Connie. “The Mercy Comfort Health Center for Women is truly an innovative concept and will be a first of its kind in central Iowa. The Center will address the complex health care needs of mature women in one convenient location. All women can feel confident that their unique needs will be addressed in a respectful, calming environment.”
To realize the dream of bringing a comprehensive women’s center to central Iowa, the Comfort family pledged $8.5 million to launch the new center.
“The joy of giving is a family tradition,” said Debbi and Connie. “Our father was a gracious gentleman with a warm sense of humor, a supporter of many philanthropic organizations and the most loving, generous father two girls could ever have. We are pleased his influence can positively affect the health care women receive in our community for years to come.”