Dr. John Pavlicek first encountered OHSU in 1945 at age two, when an accidental burn on his leg sent him to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. The burns on his left leg were so severe he required a skin graft that took skin from his stomach and right thigh.
John doesn’t remember the accident very well, but he knows it was a big deal for the whole family.
“When I was older, I asked my dad how much he had to pay for my treatment, and he told me he could only afford $5 a month – that was in 1945. I’m sure there were a lot of donations that took care of me.”
John’s next encounter with OHSU came about 20 years later, when he enrolled at the OHSU School of Dentistry (then called the University of Oregon Dental School) where he graduated in 1968.
“I was fortunate to get into a profession that I enjoyed. Dentistry was never work,” he said. “It was my hobby, I absolutely loved it.”
John ended up in Redmond, OR, after serving four years in the Army and met Jill soon after. The couple married in 1981 and by 1984, Jill had started running the dental practice. “Jill did the organizing and the finances, and I treated patients,” said John.
“When I was older, I asked my dad how much he had to pay for my treatment, and he told me he could only afford $5 a month – that was in 1945. I’m sure there were a lot of donations that took care of me.”John Pavlicek, D.M.D.
“We’ve always worked as a family,” said Jill. “We didn’t have a lot of money in the beginning, but we kept at it, and that’s what made our success. We believe in persistence and determination.”
The couple eventually got into real estate investing, buying and managing rental properties. They also managed to raise five children and now enjoy 12 grandchildren.
As soon as they were able, the couple started supporting their community and other organizations they were passionate about. They’ve been steady, loyal donors to the School of Dentistry since the 1980s and joined the Sam Jackson Guild in 2005.
“We wanted to give back to the community where we prospered,” said John.
In the early 2000s Doernbecher came back into the family’s life when their grandson Adam Harper became ill with lymphocytosis, also known as systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
“The Doernbecher team was super with Adam,” said Jill. The experience deepened the family’s connection to OHSU.
In 2021, following a particularly successful real estate transaction, the Pavliceks decided to double down on their philanthropy. In addition to supporting many local organizations, the couple created the Pavlicek Harper Endowed Fund in Pediatrics as a thank you to the exceptional people who cared for Adam and to pay back Doernbecher’s kindness all those decades ago, when John was a child. The fund was designed to provide timely assistance wherever Doernbecher needs it most — be it capital, staffing or treating children.
That same year they also established the Pavlicek Family Scholarship in Dentistry Endowed Fund, which supports students from Central Oregon and across the state who demonstrate the values so prized by the Pavlicek family: hard work, care for others, and a passion dentistry.
“We decided to give while we were alive, so we could see the impact,” said John. They are also looking to the future and have put aside money for OHSU as a portion of their family trust, to ensure that their success can continue to benefit the next generation.