Michael Valentine, 71, worked on Robert Kennedy presidential campaign

Michael Valentine died peacefully on February 15 at his home in The Landings, Savannah, Georgia. Michael fought and bowed to cancer with the humor and graciousness that characterized his life.

Born in Wichita, Kansas on February 21, 1942, Michael grew up in the West and Midwest. In 1962 he served in Ecuador as one of the first Peace Corps volunteers.

On his return to the United States, he worked as a Peace Corps recruiter, was later selected for a community development assignment in Vietnam by the Agency for International Development, and trained at the Foreign Service Institute. This path ended in 1964 when the US became active combatants in that country.

He was recruited in 1965 by the Governor’s Office in Alaska to set up programs under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. Two years later he moved to Athens, OH to work with Ohio University’s Institute for Regional Development extending critical resources into Southeast Ohio and Appalachia.

In the late 60s and early 70’s, Michael took his passions for human and community development to the political arena. He worked on Robert Kennedy’s and Hubert Humphrey’s Presidential campaigns, supported John Glenn’s run for Senator in Ohio, and played a key role in the successful Colorado congressional primary campaign of Alan Merson.

In 1972 Michael moved to Boston, married Ruth Taylor in 1975 and began a thirty-year career transforming the way by which philanthropy impacted medical institutions. He began at the Medical Foundation, and then moved to University Hospital and subsequently the Eye Research Institute. In Boston Michael forged his signature approach: build strong relationships and relate the raising of money to spending it effectively.

In 1991, Michael was recruited to head the Foundation for Stamford Hospital in Connecticut. He later accepted a development leadership position at Northeast Health System in Beverly MA where he created a foundation to support its affiliate hospitals.

In 2007, he retired with Ruth to Savannah, GA. In addition to his wife he is survived by his three children: Dr. Sabina Valentine (David Gartner) of Berlin, Germany; Taylor Valentine (Andrea Masters Valentine) of Brooklyn NY; Allison Brisbois (Clayton Brisbois) of Havertown, PA. Michael also leaves his sister Yvonne Sonner of Boise, ID, and many nieces and nephews. His spirit and legacy will be carried on by five and soon to be six grandchildren: Clara and Mika Valentine; Andrew, Zachary, and Carissa Brisbois; and granddaughter Valentine (Taylor and Andrea) due in March.

The family requests that friends who wish to honor Michael do so with a donation to a cause they know Michael would have embraced: one that makes the world—as he did—a more cheerful and compassionate place.