A 50-year Relationship Sparks a Gift for the Future

Jabara Family

Walter M. Whitehouse, Jr., MD, with Julia and Kal Jabara at the fall 2015 event celebrating donors who supported the Walter M. Whitehouse, Jr., MD, Endowed Chair for Surgery – the first endowed chair at St. Joe’s

“If a hospital and its staff could be members of someone’s family, St. Joe’s and its doctors and nurses would be a part of ours,” said Julia Jabara. 

Kal and Julia Jabara moved to Plymouth, Michigan, with their children in 1968 and started Wild Wings and Kincaid Art Galleries, one of Kal’s many business ventures. At that time, they also began a nearly 50-year relationship with St. Joe’s. 

The Jabaras have held together through many health trials that have only strengthened their family’s love and inspired them to give back to their community.  A number of years ago during an appointment with Dr. Whitehouse, Julia asked, “When will someone be raising money for a Whitehouse professorship?”  The family felt Dr. Whitehouse should be recognized for his expertise, the respect he shows patients, the mentorship of surgical residents, and the kindness he practices every day. In 2015, when they posed the question again, Dr. Whitehouse shared St. Joe’s plans for an endowed chair.  A few months later, Kal, Julia and their son Dean arrived at St. Joe’s to present Dr. Whitehouse with the family’s leadership gift. 

With the Jabaras’ extraordinary support as well as gifts from patients, physicians and staff, more than $1.5 million was raised to establish the Walter M. Whitehouse, Jr., MD, Endowed Chair for Surgery – the first endowed chair at St. Joe’s. 

It was soon followed by a second, the M. Hugh Solomon, MD, Endowed Chair for Urology. Again, the Jabaras chose to make a lead gift, this time to recognize and thank Dr. Solomon for the exceptional treatment and compassionate care he had provided Kal.

The Jabaras’ gifts not only reflect their gratitude, but also their own personal commitment to others and our community. For many years Kal and Julia served as lead volunteers with the Kidney Foundation in Michigan. Kal has promoted local artists especially through the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. He was president of the Plymouth Rotary twice and of the Oilman’s Club as well as a volunteer for the Salvation Army in Detroit. Kal recently joined friend Howard Tanner in Michigan State University’s Project F.I.S.H. an educational program offered through local schools for youth and families.

“We are pleased to give back to a hospital that has meant so much to us and to our children,” said Julia Jabara. “And, we wish God’s Blessings on you all.”

“The Jabaras vision, encouragement and leadership gifts for St. Joe’s first two endowed chairs are inspiring and will sustain medical and surgical excellence as well as our healing mission,” said Katie Elliott, Director of Development at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor.

Dr. Hugh and Mrs. Solomon with Kal and Julia Jabara

Thank You to Our Donors

St. Joe’s is grateful to the Jabaras and the generous donors who supported efforts to establish our first two endowed chairs named for Doctors Whitehouse and Solomon. Your recognition of our leaders will make ongoing excellence possible.

Income from the Walter M. Whitehouse, Jr., MD, Endowed Chair for Surgery and M. Hugh Solomon, MD, Endowed Chair for Urology will be used under the discretion of the Department Chairs, not for salaries or supply purchases, but for programs and projects that elevate St. Joe’s culture of research, learning and mentorship as well as innovative care.

The Solomon Endowment reflects Dr. Solomon’s leadership and dedication to continually improving urological treatments – bringing new technologies and protocols to St. Joe’s, providing patients with personalized care that has immediate and lasting benefits, and creating a healing environment. Dr. Solomon’s accomplishments are a cornerstone for the future of Urological care.

The Whitehouse Endowment recognizes all Dr. Whitehouse has made possible and the foundation of surgical excellence he has created through leadership, scientific study and patient-centered care; the enhancement of surgical care, the construction of St. Joe’s state-of-the-art surgery centers, the success of surgical residents, and the lives he has touched.

To make a gift today, visit  

Or to learn more about how you can support St. Joe’s, contact the Office of Development:

Katie Elliott, Director of Major and Planned Gifts
734-712-3919 or

Karen Campbell, Gift Officer
734-712-2890 or

Melissa Sheppard, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations
734-712-4079 or

(Source: “Gift of Health” Spring 2017)

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