Even just before her death at age 93, Greta Flaschner was exuberant, playful and had a zest for life. She was lighthearted with those closest to her, but Flaschner was quite serious about philanthropy — as evidenced by a $2.8 million real estate bequest she left to City of Hope.
She first learned of the institution several years ago through her friend Andy Spiegl, a member of City of Hope’s Medical Center Board of Directors and the Board of Regents. After Flaschner approached Spiegl about help in managing her rental property, he proposed directing the duty to City of Hope. Soon afterward, Spiegl arranged for Flaschner and her late twin sister, Gertrude
Sheldon, to tour the campus.
Moved by the tour, Flaschner embraced City of Hope’s mission. She set up a charitable remainder trust for an apartment building she owned, with City of Hope as the beneficiary. This arrangement allowed her to retain ownership of the property during her life, while willing it to City of Hope upon her death.
As light-hearted as she appeared, Flaschner remained focused and sharp when it came to finances, wanting to ensure that her money was wisely spent. “When Greta saw all of the children being treated at the hospital during her tour, she was elated that she had an opportunity to help them,” Spiegl said.
Originally from Prague, Flaschner immigrated to the United States with her late husband Charles in the 1940s, settling in Los Angeles. Gertrude moved to Vancouver, Canada. In their later years, the sisters often spent six months out of each year visiting each other, maintaining their close bond. Flaschner died in 2005.