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Legacy Society Member Marilyn Gilbert

Ms. Marilyn GilbertMarilyn Gilbert is an 86 year-old force of nature. The former litigator is hardly content to rest and recline during her retirement years. She’s moved on from her days of being “on stage” in a courtroom or a theater, but she still prefers to pack her days with plenty of stimulation and inspiration. Her passion projects are as varied as her interests, and the grandmother of 16 can still deftly command a team, whether her goal is to fundraise for a local charity or to support a cause dear to her heart. As of late, she’s assembled a Sansum Clinic medical team to treat the health conditions she manages. “Each one of the doctors I interface with has such concern for me,” describes Marilyn. “They follow the needs of their patients, and it’s like I am part of the team, and we are all working together.”

Marilyn’s positive experiences with the Clinic span more than 40 years, and her appreciation for its benefits motivated her to become a member of the Legacy Society, a commitment to include Sansum Clinic in her estate plan. 

During the 1950s, Marilyn would travel from Los Angeles with her first husband to visit Clinic doctor Casimir Domz, MD, who offered out-of-town patients a medical package that included exams across different specialties and lab work. “You could come up here and stay in a little hotel across the street from the Clinic. People would come from all over the country for this,” Marilyn explains. Dr. Domz would later become Marilyn’s longtime physician until he retired. When she and her second husband, Nathan Rundlett moved to Montecito, Dr. Kurt Ransohoff helped my mother when she was dying of heart failure. The sensitivity and compassion he showed during those years impressed Marilyn. Her choice to have him become her primary physician was a lifesaving one. “I felt death staring at me,” she remembers. “I was fortunate, I lost my kidney, but I was alive.” The regular communication by phone at that time, and now through MyChart messages, greatly comforts Marilyn and she appreciates the quick responses. More recently added to her physician roster is Rheumatologist Christian Powell, MD who treats her arthritis. “He’s managed to get my body in shape where I do not even have osteoporosis,” Marilyn boasts. Pulmonologist Bryan Garber, MD keeps watch on her lung disease, which she understands is incurable and progressive. For someone who has crooned with the likes of some incredible vocalists, Marilyn laments the impact her disease as had on her voice. “Luckily, I am mostly singing in my kitchen and in the shower right now,” she jests. 

The desire to give back and engage their community greatly enriched Marilyn and Nate’s marriage. The couple founded Opera Santa Barbara in 1993, and spent decades taking part in performances together and hosting fundraisers at their home. At this stage of life and sharp as a tack, Marilyn is orchestrating her swan song. With the same plucky determination she used to prepare for her law cases or to gather up professionals for her opera company, she is making sure the people and projects she cares about will be taken care of when she is gone. This past year, she officially adopted all four of her stepchildren, so they could inherit the home their father lovingly built. Her promise to the Legacy Society, so others can receive the same excellent care she has, was an easy decision. She concludes, “This Clinic has kept me alive and feeling good, and kept me full of life.” 

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