by Lisa Lyons
In the latest of a series of significant bequests to City of Hope this year, the institution has received an unexpected gift totaling $5,862,000 from the estate of Laguna Beach, Calif., residents Edward and Estelle Alexander.
The gift came as a surprise to Development staff at City of Hope. The Alexanders were not established supporters, yet the institution received 60 percent of their estate, which totaled nearly $10 million. Edward Bartelt, a family friend and godson of the Alexanders, served as co-trustee of the estate.
“Apparently Mr. Alexander’s mother, Bertha Scheuermann, was a patient at City of Hope in the 1960s,” Bartelt said. “The outstanding care and treatment she received made such a strong positive impression on him that he wanted to acknowledge his gratitude through this generous gift.”
The Alexanders, both Los Angeles natives, met and married in the 1940s. Edward Alexander attended Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles where he first met Kenneth Bartelt, who would become the father of Alexander’s godson, Edward Bartelt. Alexander later joined the Merchant Marine and served on cargo ships delivering gasoline to Asian ports for American troops during World War II.
After the war, he returned to Los Angeles and settled in North Hollywood, where he started an international import/export business. In the 1970s, under the advice and guidance of Kenneth Bartelt, who was by then a certified public accountant and the Alexanders’ financial advisor, the business grew significantly and was incorporated. It subsequently was purchased by one of its largest foreign vendors.
Sadly, both the Alexanders suffered from poor health in their later years. Edward Alexander died in November 2002. Estelle Alexander passed away in June 2004. The couple had no children.
James Conti, a longtime family friend and business associate of Edward Alexander, served as co-trustee of the couple’s estate. Both he and Edward Bartelt will receive invitations to tour the campus when appropriate recognition for the gift is determined.