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Ashland Community Hospital Foundation gets large gift

Ashland Community Hospital Foundation said today it has received a $2.2 million bequest from the estate of Ruth Tucker Evans, the largest contribution in its 36 years of operation.

The gift will support the William G. and Ruth T. Evans Endowed Nursing Scholarships, the Foundation's Charity Care Endowment and the Ashland Community Hospital Hospice program.

Evans, who died Jan. 3, at 96, became known for her philanthropic work after her husband's death in 2002. She contributed to the Evans Family Endowed Music Scholarship Fund at Southern Oregon University and established multiple Oregon Community Foundation funds benefitting local projects. The Evanses established two funds with the Pittsburgh Foundation, supporting medical education and health projects.

Ruth Evans, who was born in Lowell, Mass., in 1916, was a registered nurse. During World War II, she was a captain in the Army Nurses Corps and spent much of her time in Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines. After the war, she met and married William Evans in 1947 and moved to Dixonville, Pa., where he opened a medical practice. They moved to Ashland in 1998.

She established the Evans Endowed Nursing Scholarship through the Ashland Community Hospital Foundation in 2002. Since then, 71 nursing students have received 105 scholarships totaling $145,000. The scholarships are awarded to students enrolled in the nursing programs at Oregon Health & Science University, Southern Oregon University and Rogue Community College.

The bequest will allow the Foundation to significantly increase the number of students who receive scholarships each year and the size of the awards.

It also will help ACH cover the costs of uninsured and underinsured patients as well support the hospital's hospice program.

"I am grateful and honored that Ruth has entrusted us with a gift of this magnitude," Janet Troy, vice president of development for Ashland Community Hospital Foundation, said in a statement. "Her gift is a true reflection of her commitment to the nursing profession and a desire to care for those in need. It is the perfect example of how the kindness and generosity of one person can touch the lives of so many people."

— Greg Stiles