An Enduring Gift and Commitment to Youth

The examples we set through leadership and service often extend to the next generation and beyond. Herman Papenfoth, a Wheeler board of trustee member in the organization’s earliest years, clearly was a strong role model for his daughter, Doris Nims, who passed away in 2015 at age 89.

Ms. Nims, formerly of Cheshire, Connecticut, left a significant legacy gift to Wheeler of approximately $1.9 million to Wheeler to advance programs and services that support children and adolescents.

Mrs. Nims was a woman ahead of her time. She held a degree in preschool education and was an independent, intelligent woman with a good head for business. Her husband, Dr. Robert Nims, was a physician at the VA Medical Center in West Haven and assistant professor at Yale University.

As an early trustee, and local community leader, Mr. Papenfoth, or "Pap," helped set Wheeler on a solid financial foundation with the strong business orientation he would pass on to his daughter Dorie. He also shared his commitment to Wheeler's mission with her.

"It is an honor to steward Mrs. Nims' legacy," said Susan Walkama, LCSW, president and chief executive officer, Wheeler. "The gift is among the largest ever received by Wheeler and has been invested in our continuing transformation to a community health system, particularly in programs and services that support adolescents and families.”

Wheeler traces its beginnings to a generous bequest in 1960 from prominent Plainville resident Bertha Wheeler. Mrs. Wheeler’s gift helped to establish the clinic in 1968 and led to the 1972 construction of the first facility at 91 Northwest Drive in Plainville.

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