Jerry Archibald’s relationship with St. Joseph’s Hospital began in 1968 when a train hit his car at an unmarked railroad crossing in northern Hillsborough County. “I thought I was going to die,” Jerry recalls. “I could hardly breathe.” When he arrived at St. Joseph’s, “It was a great feeling seeing a nurse, and she said, ‘You’ll be okay.’” Over the years Jerry estimates he’s been in the St. Joseph’s emergency room more than a dozen times, including when his wife Suzie was cared for at the hospital after a severe car accident in 1980.
When the new St. Joseph’s Hospital-North opened, the Archibalds knew they wanted to give back to the institution that had always cared for them. It’s also part of a larger pattern in their lives. They like to help people directly, much like the way Jerry was helped when growing up as the son of a single mother in New Port Richey. “People there were always watching out for me,” he says, whether it was baskets of food during the holidays or jobs and small investment opportunities.
“I’ve been very fortunate in business,” says Jerry, who founded and sold three banks during his career. “You can’t just take in life. You have to give something back.” The Archibalds give back in another way, through their dog, Bailey, who was recently named one of America’s most loveable pets by the television show “Wheel of Fortune.” “Everyone is drawn to Bailey,” says Suzie of the Poodle/Shih-Tzu mix they adopted from the Humane Society of Tampa. Pet therapy is on the horizon for Bailey, but even more, she is an ambassador for the Humane Society. “I want to make sure everyone knows where she came from,” says Suzie. “There are real gems there.”
An ICU patient room at St. Joseph’s Hospital-North is named for Gerald and Suzie Archibald.