Gift from former Philomath man worth $1.06 million to Pastega House

The Mario Pastega House, located on the campus of Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, serves patients and families who must travel to Corvallis for specialty medical care, ranging from surgeries to cancer treatments.

The house is currently undergoing an expansion and a few monetary gifts have helped cover the costs of daily operations. A notable donation to the house came from the Clifford Heselton Trust in the amount of $1.06 million.

Heselton, formerly of Philomath, died in December and left his entire estate to local charities, including the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation’s fund for Pastega House operations.

Heselton had a career in aerospace in Southern California, even working on the space shuttle. He moved to a home just outside Philomath with his wife, June, who died in 1991, and then later to Corvallis.

“Mr. Heselton learned about the Pastega House in the newspaper when it was opening and he decided to send in a check to support it,” said Darrel Kau, executive director of the hospital foundation. “He got to meet Mario Pastega and became friendly with him, and also had tours of the house. He had no direct experience but he just felt it was important to have a guest house at a large hospital. It started with an article in the paper and led to over a $1 million legacy gift.”

Heselton has been generous with two endowment funds established with the Benton Community Foundation. The Cliff Heselton Fund benefits the Philomath Youth Activities Club, Philomath Scout Lodge, Jackson Street Youth Shelter, Benton County 4-H and Vina Moses Center. A second endowed fund benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis.

In addition to the Heselton gift, the Pastega House also received a $22,500 gift from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at Oregon State University. The fraternity does an annual tug-of-war fundraiser on campus, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the group pivoted this year and sold special T-shirts to raise support.

The fraternity held a contest among the university’s sororities to design the shirts, and Alpha Chi Omega won.

The Pastega Family Foundation matched the amount raised to reach $22,500.

About a third of the house’s guests come to Corvallis for cancer treatments at the Samaritan Pastega Regional Cancer Center. Other patients visit the hospital for heart surgeries or other specialty procedures.

The house was made possible by a $350,000 gift from the late Mario and Alma Pastega, and the family foundation continues to support it today.

Construction is underway now to double the capacity of the house, from 12 to 24 rooms. Many of the new rooms will have two queen beds, which will offer better accommodations for larger families. The project also includes upgraded laundry and kitchen facilities.

To make a gift toward the expansion or house operations, visit samhealth.org/Giving, call the GSH Foundation at 541-768-6569 or email Kau at [email protected].

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