Kathryn Amsler Priddy estate supports scholarships, cancer research

Kathryn Amsler Priddy

By Sharon Reynolds

A dedication to medical education and an appreciation for their own cancer care brought Kathryn Amsler Priddy and her husband, Ashley Horne Priddy, to UT Southwestern. On June 2, 2017, Mrs. Priddy passed away at the age of 90.

Recent gifts through the estate of Mrs. Priddy include support for Southwestern Medical Foundation through the Kathryn and Ashley H. Priddy Fund for medical student scholarships and support for UT Southwestern Medical Center through the Dr. Eugene P. Frenkel Cancer Research Fund.

Inspiring the next generation

In 1992, a gift from Amanda Amsler, Mrs. Priddy’s mother, and an endowment fund that honored Mr. Priddy were combined to establish the Kathryn and Ashley H. Priddy Fund at Southwestern Medical Foundation. The Fund benefits medical education scholarships at UT Southwestern and also inspires the next generation of physicians through the Priddy Award, which funds a summer research fellowship for one outstanding high school student who participates in the Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair. This fellowship is part of STARS (Science Teacher Access to Resources at Southwestern), which serves more than 20,000 teachers and 50,000 students in North Texas and beyond.

Mr. and Mrs. Priddy’s children – Hervey Priddy, the late Betty Walker, and Ann Bentley – agree that giving is a learned trait that has been passed down in their family from generation to generation and has added value to each of their lives.

“Our parents felt that the education they provided for their three children, nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren was the one thing they could give us that nobody could take away,” said Hervey Priddy.

The family hopes their mother’s recent estate gift to support Dr. Frenkel’s research will lead to new discoveries to prevent and treat cancer. Dr. Frenkel, a Professor of Internal Medicine and Radiology at UT Southwestern, has played a very important role in the family’s life story. Their father was already suffering from terminal prostate cancer by the time he came under Dr. Frenkel’s care at UT Southwestern. He died in 1984 at the age of 61. After Mrs. Priddy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994, she was treated successfully by Dr. Frenkel. Then in 2000, just six years after her mother’s diagnosis, Mrs. Bentley received her own breast cancer diagnosis.

“You just don’t stop and think that something like this is going to happen,” said Mrs. Bentley. “I had young kids at home. I went straight to Dr. Frenkel. I had complete trust in him.”

From left, Ann Priddy Bentley, the late Betty Priddy Walker, Kathryn Amsler Priddy, and Hervey Priddy

“The Priddy family’s recent gifts demonstrate their steadfast commitment to medical education and research,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern. “Not only does their philanthropic generosity enhance UT Southwestern’s ability to educate and train future generations of exceptional physicians, it also supports our pursuit of improved cancer care, which will make a difference to the lives of many for years to come.”

Giving back

The Priddy family has deep roots in the area. Following a whirlwind romance, Kathryn Amsler Priddy and Ashley Horne Priddy celebrated a holiday wedding in 1947, settling in Dallas shortly thereafter. Mr. Priddy began working for the Sabine Corporation as an engineer and eventually moved up the ranks to Chairman. Mrs. Priddy focused her life on raising their three children.

Shortly after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Mr. Priddy was invited to serve on the citizen-led “Goals for Dallas,” a program created by then-Mayor J. Erik Jonsson to improve morale and set a new direction for the city. Mr. Priddy’s involvement helped the couple establish deeper connections to the city.

“It has been a joy to get to know the Priddy family,” said Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation. “The family continues to advocate for the impact that quality medical education has on society. We are so grateful for the family’s leadership, and all the ways they have reached into our community to bring progress forward for medicine in our city.”

Dr. Frenkel holds the Elaine Dewey Sammons Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research, in his honor; the Raymond D. and Patsy R. Nasher Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research, also in his honor; and the A. Kenneth Pye Professorship in Cancer Research.

Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.