Francis J. Rigney, Jr., M.D.
[Originally published in the Foundation’s newsletter Physician Advisor, September 2008]
Physicians as Legacy Supporters
- Retired psychiatrist, CPMC 1961–1981
- Chairman emeritus, Psychiatry Department
- Chief of Staff, 1976–1980
- Legacy gift: charitable remainder trust (unrestricted) in 1983
Dr. Francis Rigney was born in Manhattan and came to San Francisco in 1949 for his internship and residency; after three years of Army service in Europe he returned. He was the senior author of “The Real Bohemia,” a book about the Beat movement’s sociological and psychological motivations. Dr. Rigney is chairman emeritus of Raphael House in San Francisco, a multi-service shelter for homeless families his philanthropist mother founded in 1971.
Favorite achievement: Being chief-of-staff at the right time. In 1976 the doctors elected me as their leader and medical staff’s voice on CPMC’s Board of Directors. The hospital, at that time, was demoralized and facing bankruptcy. I rewrote most of the bylaws, helping to get the medical staff back to stability. I was backed by a new president, Bruce Spivey, M.D., and a new administrator (who restored our finances). All this helped take the hospital from approximately 45 percent to 85 percent occupancy, and I was reelected three times.
Fondest memory as physician: A positive role with patients, seeing demoralized and disturbed people leave my office months later as better human beings.
Leisure activities: I love movies, always have. (I was briefly on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Film Society.) During a recent weekend at the Castro, I greatly enjoyed a festival of silent films; I saw 12 full-length features and 12 shorts, some rare, some restored. It was terrific.
Staying in touch: As an honorary staff member, I’m serving my 34th year on the Bylaws Committee; I’m known as having an institutional memory. I find it enjoyable to still make a contribution. I’m vitally interested in life and activities and work.
Reason for supporting CPMC: I am pleased with the study that shows we’re among the top hospitals in the country; it’s a great place, and I support maintaining its standing. I like the idea that some of my investments are in a secure place; I used $100,000 of appreciated stock to create a charitable remainder unitrust.
"I’m known as having an institutional memory ... I’m vitally interested in life and activities and work." – Francis J. Rigney, Jr., M.D., Legacy Society member since 1983