Our Legacy

On a spring night in 1982 Dr. George G. Glenner, an internationally recognized research pathologist specializing in Alzheimer’s Disease at the University of California, San Diego, received a phone call. The distraught husband of a patient with Alzheimer’s had reached the end of his limits and was about to end two lives. Dr. Glenner and his wife, Joy, prevented this near tragedy and the next day the idea for our first Glenner center was born—the Alzheimer’s Family Center, Inc. opened in Hillcrest in October of that year.

Dr. Glenner and his wife created an innovative new social and medical model introducing one of the first dementia-specific adult day care centers in the nation. This model with its approach to support not only the individual’s unique needs, but the family as well has been replicated through out the country. Their concern for those affected by Alzheimer’s and the families who care for them in their day-to-day struggles resulted in a number of centers, and the formation of support groups and educational resources. The addition of The School of Dementia Care in 1991 trained health care workers for ten years.

Dr. Glenner was recognized for his research and identification of the beta-amyloid protein—the hallmark of Alzheimer’s Disease. A graduate of John Hopkins University School of Medicine, he served as chief of the Molecular Pathology section and as chairman of the Department of Medicine and Physiology at the National Institutes of Health for twenty-six years. He was a member of the National Alzheimer’s Association Board of Directors and held many state and San Diego honors. Joy Glenner whose previous background had been as a production assistant for CBS TV news, served as CEO for the centers and as board president until her retirement in 2007. In 1988 the Glenners received a presidential commendation from President Ronald Reagan for their advocacy for Alzheimer’s patients and their families.

In this our thirtieth year, we would like to pay tribute to the remarkable partnership and contribution of George and Joy Glenner whose dedication and vision has touched so very many lives.