Selecting a bottle of wine from their private cellar and then sharing it over dinner is something Bill and Eileen Meurer look forward to as a highlight of their day. It’s often the first time the busy couple can get together and talk.
Bill began seriously studying wine – and anything related to the vineyards that produce it – in 1976 after a waiter in Colorado challenged his table to select a bottle to “bring out the meal.” Today a temperature controlled wine cellar sits in the center of the Meurer’s home.
While Bill studies wine, Eileen’s hobby has been making beautiful and intricate needlepoint Christmas stockings for their family, which includes four children and 12 grandchildren. The couple frequently travels to visit them, but when at home in Tampa, they are busy volunteers, Eileen at Catholic Charities and St. Joseph’s, where for years she has been involved in the annual gala and fashion show, and Bill at LifeLink and St. Joseph’s. A retired managing partner at Arthur Andersen, Bill has chaired the St. Joseph’s board of trustees, as well as its finance committee and its quality and safety committee, and also serves on the audit committee of BayCare Health System.
Bill cites his Jesuit education as the genesis of his desire to share his resources. “They stressed the theme of how fortunate we are,” he recalls. “In a lot of ways, we did nothing to deserve it, so we owe something to give back to society.” Eileen grew up in a small farm town in Kansas, where her parents were models of giving, she says, first within their own family and then to the church.
Bill and Eileen firmly believe in supporting the hospital to ensure that its brand of healthcare remains available in Tampa. “They have a substantive mission that includes ‘compassionate care,’” says Bill. “It’s a differentiator between St. Joseph’s and other providers, and it’s what will keep me involved for years to come.”
A gift from Bill and Eileen Meurer has been recognized in the chapel garden at St. Joseph’s Hospital-North.