Philanthropy in Action

Donor Spotlight

A Gift for Stan

Terry Buoninfante


Terry and Stan Buoninfante

“Honoring my husband isn't about a plaque here or a cross there...” Terry says. It’s about giving gifts of healing and renewal—body and spirit.


Stan the Star

“I always joked with Stan that he married Mod-A-Can in ’66 and me in ’67,” says Terry Buoninfante, whose husband, Stan Buoninfante, was President and CEO of the avionics components company. With his co-founders, Stan grew Mod-A-Can into a leading domestic and international supplier of indicator display cases and components that can be found in many of the world’s most important commercial and military aircraft. But Stan wasn’t all business. The devoted husband and father of the couple’s two children was also artistic and musical, performing in a band and singing in the church choir. The couple had been married for more than 40 years when Terry noticed that Stan, who had always been very healthy, was breathing heavily when walking upstairs. She knew something was wrong.

What happened next, Terry—a deeply religious person—attributes to divine providence. Stan went to see his internist, but he was out. A pulmonologist was filling in that day.  Stan was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in 2010 and treated by Lori Shah, MD, Assistant Attending at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. After exhausting all other treatments, Dr. Shah told the Buoninfantes that a lung transplant was the only option left. 

Hearing that news, “Stan was very calm,” Terry remembers. “He was an engineer, focused only on the next steps.” But among the next steps was a huge hurdle. The Hospital had never performed  a transplant on a patient over 65; Stan was 71. Nonetheless, because Stan was so healthy, Dr. Shah and Stan went ahead with rigorous preliminary physical examinations. “He blew through all the tests,” Terry recalls. “Dr. Shah called Stan her star,” and the Hospital agreed to move forward with the planning of the transplant surgery. 

Then came the long wait for a lung. Stan continued to work from home, even as his breathing worsened and he was tethered to an oxygen tank. Finally, he received his new lung—and life—by means of a transplant performed by surgeon Frank D’ovidio, MD, Surgical Director of the Lung Transplant and Ex-Vivo Lung Perfusion Programs at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. “Stan was the big star at the Hospital once more,” Terry says.

Doctors and Divine Providence

His family was prepared for Stan to endure a lengthy stay in the Hospital, but he defied the odds again when he walked out after only 10 days. “He was perfect,” says Terry. “Dr. Shah and Dr. D’ovidio were thrilled with the results of the operation. Stan felt like he was 40 years old,” she jokes. The Buoninfantes enjoyed another two wonderful years together after the successful transplant, but sadly, Stan succumbed to an unrelated medical condition. Family and friends mourned Stan, as did Hospital staff who knew him well. “I’ve never seen a doctor cry like that,” Terry says of Dr. Shah’s reaction to her star patient’s death.

Grateful for the compassionate, expert care Stan received from the Hospital, Terry learned from NewYork-Presbyterian’s Planned Giving experts how to make annual charitable gifts from her IRA. She discovered she could increase her annual charitable giving and avoid paying tax on her distributions. "Honoring my husband isn’t about a plaque here or a cross there,” Terry says. It’s about giving gifts of healing and renewal—body and spirit. 

All of us at NewYork-Presbyterian thank Terry for her amazing commitment to our patients. If you would like to learn more about setting up donations from your IRA in memory or in honor of a loved one, please visit

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