Philanthropy in Action

Guided by Gratitude

by Spencer Simpson, NYP Development Communications

Kathleen McDole

People like Kathleen McDole are why NewYork-Presbyterian provides amazing care.

Kathleen, who spent her career at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital as a nurse, left behind a legacy of compassion and dedication when she passed away in 2023.

As colleague and longtime friend Mary Leonard says, Kathleen “stayed here for 30 years because she appreciated being part of a positive, future-oriented haven for sick people from all walks of life.”


Kathleen McDole and Mary Leonard

Kathleen McDole and Mary Leonard

I first met Ms. McDole in January of 1989, when I started working on the labor and delivery unit as an RN at Babies Hospital,” Mary recalls. “Kathleen was our administrator on duty at night. She was smart, clinically adept, very knowledgeable about nursing matters and world matters. She would make her rounds every night—she covered the entire building—and would also return if any pressing issues needed her expertise. She learned our names and knew our strengths and needs. In emergencies, she was cool and efficient.”

On quiet nights on the hospital floor, Mary says, Kathleen would distribute literature to help keep families occupied in the time before the internet. She empowered her nurses to succeed. On Halloween, one of her favorite holidays, she would work in costume.

“Ms. McDole worked many a holiday so that her colleagues with children could enjoy their families,” Mary continues. “On Christmas and Thanksgiving, she would travel to each unit with desserts that she had lovingly prepared. Sometimes, she would bring her mother to work to celebrate.”

Mary says that, for Kathleen, “nursing was a calling. Although she laughed all the time at herself, she took her role as a nurse very seriously. Her compassion for the patients and their families was always evident.”

Later in life, Kathleen spent a year away from New York caring for a dying cousin who had no one else. Mary recalls, “It bothered her how healthcare professionals would speak to patients. She spoke up and advocated for him. In her writings, she has stated that the patients should be the center of the focus of the nurse.”

Kathleen McDole with her parents

Kathleen McDole with her parents


Kathleen retired in 2004. Many still remember her dedication and diligence. As Mary recalls, “Kathleen was very intelligent, funny, kind, very giving, very generous. She liked to ‘walk on the sunny side of the street.’ She appreciated the care given to everyone, regardless of social class.”

When Kathleen passed, she was surrounded by family and friends. Mary is the executor of her estate.

In an incredible act of generosity, Kathleen donated her home to NYP. “Philanthropy keeps the world strong,” Mary notes. “Through Kathleen’s gift, we will remember her kindness and passion for caring for humanity.”

Donors like Kathleen help NewYork-Presbyterian transform the lives of patients every day; if you’re interested in sharing your story or learning more about planned giving, please contact the Planned Giving Team at [email protected].