A Legacy of Helping Kids

January 24, 2020

During his 35-year career as a speech language pathologist working with hearing-impaired children, William Pahle was dedicated to advocating for kids and their families. Now retired, Mr. Pahle has ensured that he can continue to make a difference beyond his lifetime by designating Lurie Children’s as the beneficiary of his estate.

“I spent my entire professional life helping kids, so it just makes sense to continue to do so after I’m gone,” says Mr. Pahle, who received his master’s degree in speech pathology from Northwestern University after serving in the Navy.

Individuals who remember the hospital through an estate plan gift become members of the John P. Wilson Society. Among the benefits offered to members are invitations to special events and tours of Lurie Children’s. Through the Society, Mr. Pahle has taken advantage of opportunities to attend presentations by leaders in research and patient care at Lurie Children’s.


William Pahle and 8-year-old patient Hazel work on a jigsaw puzzle together in Lurie Children’s Family Life Center.

“It’s very interesting to learn about some of the research that is taking place directly from the scientists who are engaged in it,” he says.

Mr. Pahle began his career working with speech- and language-impaired children in public schools in Evanston, and later earned a certificate as a teacher of the deaf. Eventually he oversaw the entire North Suburban Special Education District’s programs for hearing-impaired children in 13 school districts.

The second half of his career found Mr. Pahle working in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), where he ultimately supervised all CPS programs for hearing-impaired children. His duties included meeting with parents, teachers, social workers and others to develop individualized education plans designed to provide students with the best possible chance for success.

“It was fulfilling to see kids with hearing impairments go on to college and lead productive lives,” says Mr. Pahle, who retired in 1992. “I’ve even been invited to weddings by former students.”

Mr. Pahle says the decision to make Lurie Children’s the beneficiary of his estate was an easy one. “I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to help kids who are just starting out in life and deserve every opportunity they can get,” he says.

Lurie Children’s offers a number of strategies for individuals who would like to include the hospital in their will or trust, or as a beneficiary of their retirement plan or life insurance. For more information, visit Legacy.LurieChildrens.org or contact Lisa Bakker at lbakker@luriechildrens.org.