In the 1930s, two pioneers changed the face of health care for the people of the Concho Valley. J.M. and Margaret Shannon brought tough work ethics, a keen business sense and frugal natures to West Texas.
Their dedication to their land, their neighbors and to each other laid the foundation for the establishment of Shannon West Texas Memorial Hospital, which grew to Shannon Medical Center and has now matured to Shannon Health System.
A pioneer by nature, J.M. Shannon brought an interest in sheep ranching, developed in Australia and New Zealand, to this area. Frugal to the point of wearing "breeches pinned together with safety pins or mesquite thorns," Shannon acquired land, insurance and banking interests, attributing his success to "always staying with the herd." A native of Scotland, Margaret Campbell, while traveling the world as a complement to her formal education, met Shannon on a ship in an Australian port. By the time the ship docked in San Francisco, the two were engaged. Two years later, they were married. Some years later, Shannon received a contract for fencing the vast XIT Ranch in the Texas Panhandle.
Building a legacy
After this project's completion, the Shannons began acquiring land, finally moving to San Angelo in 1893. At the time of his death in 1928, Shannon left his estate to his wife. Three years later Mrs. Shannon died, but not before establishing the financial foundation for a hospital to serve San Angelo and Tom Green County residents. Whether they knew it or not, the Shannons gave a gift to all the residents of San Angelo and Tom Green County, establishing a hospital with virtually no city or county taxes for support.
Today, the boundaries of the Shannons' early vision for a community hospital have grown to meet the challenges of providing health care into the next century. Just as the Shannons' ranches grew to encompass more sections of West Texas, so has the need to bring health care to more people. This growth and the development of new ways to provide care have led the Shannon board of trustees to establish the Shannon Health System. This decision is truly a pioneer effort for Texas, a confident step forward with new ways of thinking and doing business as we embrace the future of health care in West Texas.