Estate Gift Extends Commitment to Medical Missions

A man and woman standing side-by-side and smiling at the camera.

At Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Guy Abbate, MD, and his wife, Lucretia, found a place to combine 2 lifelong commitments – one to their faith and another to improving lives through medicine. Through their estate plan, the Abbates ensured those commitments will live on.

In 1993, the couple endowed the Abbate Christian Medical Mission Fund with gifts in honor of their parents and “to the glory of God.” The fund helps support school of medicine students who take part in medical missions. Such work was a central part of life for the Abbates, who met while both served in the U.S. Air Force in the mid-1960s. Guy, who later practiced and taught surgical urology, was beginning his medical career, and Lucretia was a neurosurgical nurse.

Through 49 years of marriage, they traveled the world on medical missions to such places as Africa, China, India and Singapore, applying their skills in the service of humanity. They also promoted cross-cultural dialogue, built international understanding and demonstrated their deep Christian values by loving their neighbors of diverse faiths and backgrounds.

They chose to live in Waynesville in the North Carolina mountains. It was there that friend and colleague W. Boyd Owen, MD ’40, a Wake Forest medical alumnus, introduced the Abbates to the school of medicine as a place where they could advance their interest in medical missions.

Over the years, dozens of Wake Forest medical students have benefited from the fund. Lucretia passed away in 2016 at age 80, and following Guy’s passing in 2021 at age 88, their estate gift is ensuring that many more students – and the people they provide care to around the world – will continue to benefit from their vision and passion to care for others.