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Jeffrey Carlton

The Heart and Vascular Institute of Hoag Hospital in California has been renamed after generous Los Angeles County businessman Jeffrey Carlton.

The decision comes after Carlton, who died from heart problems in 2012, bequeathed a surprise $53 million from his estate – the largest donation in hospital history – to the California-based infirmary.

On his death Mr Carlton left a total of $212 million to a trust set up to support four causes in total – Hoag Hospital Foundation, Paralyzed Veterans of America, the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities and drug and alcohol outfit Principles Inc.

The cash gifts offer the opportunity of a lifetime to the organisations concerned. Philanthropic gestures like this one are the stuff dreams are made of, events that happen only too rarely, let alone on the life-changing scale of the one perpetrated by Mr Carlton.

The money Carlton bequeathed could go towards helping the charities concerned for decades rather than years to come. The causes chosen were of such a nature that the money will help to change and improve the lives of potentially thousands of ordinary men, women and children affected by health and substance abuse issues in particular.

Mr Carlton was said to be a pragmatic, private man who liked to keep himself to himself. He is not thought to have been greatly involved with the organisations to which he left his wealth. The money was generated from the running of a successful forging services company.

Carlton is believed to have kept his focus fixed mainly on his business ventures during his lifetime. Therefore the bequests appear to have come largely as a surprise – the final gestures of a modest man who wanted to make sure his fortune made a real difference to the world after his death rather than the offerings of a flamboyant benefactor with a desire for acclaim in life.

Mr Carlton’s father had been a patient at Hoag hospital when he was alive, and it is thought that the businessman left money to that establishment as a sort of honorary gesture to his father, who himself donated in excess of $1 million to the Hoag during his life.

Carlton was the founder of Press Forge, a California-based company formed in 1978 that deals with the processing of titanium, metals and steel for the military aerospace and oil, gas exploration and nuclear companies. He died in 2012 aged 61-years-old. No wife or children survive him.