by Buck Institute

Buck professor Pankaj Kapahi and Reta Haynes go way back

Reta and her now-deceased husband, Bill Haynes, gave $250,000 to jump start the Kapahi lab in 2004, shortly after the young principal investigator came to the Buck.

“I was just beginning to grow my lab and their support was very heartening,” said Kapahi, who studies the role nutrition and metabolism play in aging and disease. “This was my first opportunity to interact with donors and Bill and Reta’s interest in my work made a real impact, both financially and personally.”

 “Our time with Pankaj has always been very special,” said Reta. “We got to see how his team runs their experiments and learn about his interest in dietary restriction. Just recently we talked about early research involving dietary restriction and its impact on vision, something that I am particularly interested in. It’s been wonderful to follow his progress over the years.”

The couple has given a total of $1 million to the Buck over the past 17 years through the Haynes Family Foundation and personal gifts. 

Bill Haynes spent many years at Chevron (originally Standard Oil Company of California), becoming president in 1969 and CEO and Chairman of the Board in 1974. After retiring at the young age of 55 he embarked on a 28-year career as a consultant to the Bechtel Group, a global construction and engineering firm. The couple traveled the world, spending a good deal of time in the Middle East and developing a world view that appreciates different cultures.

Reta says she and her husband were impressed with the Buck’s capacity to impact global health.  “We liked that it was a local organization that had such potential to make a difference for people everywhere. I’m honored that it is in our community and happy to support it. I love seeing it up on the hill.”

The couple, who were married for 64 years, always believed in giving back regardless of their station in life. Their philanthropic endeavors began when they were a young married couple living in College Station, Texas, where Bill completed his engineering degree at Texas A & M University after serving in World War II.  The University has been the recipient of their largesse over the years. They endowed two faculty chairs in geoscience and the civil engineering building bears their name. Business friends came together in 2006 and quietly raised funds to endow the Haynes Chair of Engineering at the University, very much a surprise to Reta and Bill.

After Bill’s death in 2009, Reta continued supporting the University and expanded her interest in education by endowing a chair in the College of Education and Human Development and providing scholarships to assist undergraduate students.

Now 93, Reta enjoys spending time with her three daughters, six grandchildren and 11 great-grandkids. “At this age, I am more accepting of what comes along. I’m more relaxed, and not so concerned about the future.” Her home is filled with mementos of travel and family life, much of it spent in Marin County.

She and her husband regularly attended educational events at the Buck.  Reta took advice about healthy aging seriously and keeps active mentally. “I like to learn new things, one should never be beyond learning,” she says.

She also appreciates the Buck’s focus on healthspan over lifespan. “From the beginning, the idea of living healthier rather than living longer really struck me. Why live longer if you can’t participate? Health rather than longevity.  You can have longevity with health, but health has to lead.”

“The Buck is appreciative and grateful to have longtime donors like the Haynes family,” said Lisa Palma, Director of Institutional Advancement. “As a nonprofit independent research institute, we rely on donations from our supporters to continue our work to help all people live better longer.”

Those wanting to learn more about supporting the Buck’s strategic goals and initiatives are encouraged to call the Office of Institutional Advancement at 415-209-2246.

Science is showing that while chronological aging is inevitable, biological aging is malleable. There's a part of it that you can fight, and we are getting closer and closer to winning that fight.

Eric Verdin, MD, Buck Institute President and CEO

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