OHSU

Famous Portland Restaurateur Donates $4 Million to OHSU's Casey Eye Institute

04/25/02   Portland, Ore.

Family behind Henry Thiele's restaurant provides funds to honor Casey Eye Institute doctors

Today the OHSU Foundation announced receipt of a $4 million gift from the estate of legendary Portland restaurateur Margaret Thiele Petti to benefit the Casey Eye Institute at Oregon Health & Science University. The gift honors the 20-year relationship between Margaret Thiele Petti, her husband, August Petti, and the institute.

In 1932 Margaret Thiele Petti's first husband, Henry Thiele, opened Henry Thiele's restaurant -- a landmark in N.W. Portland at Burnside and 23rd Ave.-- which soon became a popular dining destination. When Henry died in 1952, Margaret assumed full ownership. Later that year she married August Petti, an Italian clothing designer, who joined her in the restaurant business. Together they operated Thiele's for nearly 40 years. After selling the business in 1990, Margaret became a benefactor of arts and social service institutions. August died in 1991 at the age of 99. Margaret died last year at the age of 85.

The Petti's relationship with OHSU began in the early '80s when August Petti became a patient of Kenneth Swan, M.D., former chairman of ophthalmology in OHSU's School of Medicine. Both August and Margaret were patients of Fritz Fraunfelder, M.D., also a former chairman, and Larry Rich, M.D., associate professor of ophthalmology and chief of the Casey Eye Institute's corneal and external disease service. In 1990 Rich performed a corneal transplant on the then 98-year-old August Petti. The transplant restored his failing eyesight, enriching his final years.

The $4 million gift will endow the Margaret Thiele Petti and August Petti Chair for the chairman of ophthalmology at the Casey Eye Institute in honor of Kenneth C. Swan, M.D.; the Margaret Thiele Petti and August Petti Chair for the director of corneal service in honor of Larry F. Rich, M.D.; and the Margaret Thiele Petti and August Petti Research Fund. The fund will support corneal research at OHSU, especially research associated with eye diseases linked to diabetes.

"Margaret and August Petti have left a living legacy to the people of Oregon," said Joe E. Robertson Jr., M.D., chairman of ophthalmology at OHSU. "Their support will help enable the kind of new research and new treatment technologies that will have a lasting and permanent impact on the lives of patients."

The Casey Eye Institute is one priority of The Oregon Opportunity, OHSU's public-private fund-raising campaign to support and expand OHSU programs and initiatives, and to accelerate the institution's biomedical research activities.

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