Giving back: Edgar’s story of volunteerism and generosity

Edgar Reinhart lived a modest life.
He was a farmer, a heavy-machine operator, a loving uncle, a conversationalist – and a milkshake connoisseur.
Photo: Edgar Reinhart riding a tractor
“He loved vanilla milkshakes,” his niece-in-law Lynn says with a laugh. “You’d bring him one and he was just in all his glory.
“But really all he needed were his friends and some chit-chat. He didn’t concern himself with material things. And he was happiest when he was helping others.”
When Edgar died at 88 in January 2021, his legacy of helping those around him continued with a $232,000 estate donation to St. Mary’s General Hospital.
St. Mary’s had been there for Edgar when he needed a pacemaker installed in his heart. For a decade after his surgery, he showed his appreciation through volunteer work – selling raffle tickets in support of the hospital at Waterloo Farmer’s Market, with the proceeds funding essential equipment.
Photo: Edgar Reinhart with his cat

April, Edgar’s birth month, also marks National Volunteer Week (April 14-20) – a connection Lynn called serendipitous.

Edgar relished his volunteer gig, which allowed him to talk to people and hear their stories as he shared his own.
"Because of the pacemaker and the cardiac care he received at St. Mary’s, he wanted to give back,” says Lynn. “He wanted to make sure other people could get the care they needed.”
While delivering Edgar’s estate cheque to the foundation office late last year, Lynn and her husband, Edgar’s nephew Gerard, discovered that government funding doesn’t cover the cost of new and replacement hospital equipment.
Lynn and Gerard don’t know whether Edgar knew that.
"But he would have been happy to be making a difference in that way,” Gerard says.
Photo: Edgar Reinhart enjoying lunch

Gerard and Lynn remember Edgar as a kind-hearted man that took care of his community.

They remember how he could strike up a conversation with anyone, how unphased he was by changes in technology and how he’d hoped to learn to use the computer before he died. And they remember his quick wit and dry sense of humour.
“He’d tell a joke and he wouldn’t laugh but he’d raise his eyebrow a little bit,” Lynn says. “That would always make us chuckle.”
Edgar was treated at St. Mary’s but died in hospice after a short battle with COVID-19. Gerard was by his side hours before he passed, telling Edgar about the couple’s 3- and 1-year-old grandchildren, who Edgar never got to meet because of pandemic restrictions.
Photo: Edgar Reinhart with his truck
Though it was tough to say goodbye, Gerard took comfort in one of his uncle’s familiar sayings.
“It was never goodbye with Edgar,” Gerard says. “It was always bye for now.”
St. Mary's General Hospital - 100 Years

What's your St. Mary's General Hospital story?

Our hospital is more than a place — it's a tapestry of stories, resilience, and compassion. Have you experienced a moment at St. Mary's General Hospital that touched your life?
Join us in celebrating a century of compassionate care! As our hospital marks its 100th year, we're inviting you to share your story as a part of our rich history.
Scroll to Top