Meeting Nancy Smith is like going back in time. Just a few minutes into a conversation with her provides a connection between history and the present. Nancy lives in the same Parkville home her father built during the Great Depression, and she speaks with the familiarity of someone who was there when she talks about how her parents met at a local dance. Nancy tells a story fit for film.
As a lover of history, it makes sense she would be a good storyteller. She resigned teaching seventh grade at Parkville Junior High after a short period to take on a new profession: caregiver. Throughout her life, Nancy has managed the care of her father, mother, godmother and cousin.
"I should have been a nurse," Nancy said.
Some would argue she was. Doctors and nurses at GBMC – where her parents were treated during their various illnesses – were kind to Nancy, allowing her to be in the room to facilitate communication with her mother and bringing Nancy meals when they made patient rounds. Nancy said she was at GBMC so much, in fact, they gave her a discount in the cafeteria because they thought she was an employee.
"Our experience couldn't have been better," Nancy said. "Our family was also treated in such a fine way."
Carroll Smith, Nancy's father, suffered six aneurysms in his life before passing away in 1987, and her mother, Arlene, fell ill in 1982 before passing away 17 years later from complications caused by COPD. But the Smith family's relationship with GBMC actually began at the beginning of GBMC itself.
Nancy said she remembers in the early 60s, someone made a house call looking to collect seed money to build a new hospital in the community. Her parents made a donation to start GBMC in those early years, and Nancy recently became a member of the Elizabeth Duncan Yaggy Society when she included GBMC in her estate plans to continue the Smith family relationship with GBMC, perpetually.
"I'm the last gal standing," Nancy said, because she has no surviving family and was Carroll and Arlene's "million-dollar baby" 14 years after they were married. "My whole life I've been blessed by those people who made my life better. I just want to, at least, give back. Hopefully, this will make a difference in the future."
As a lover of history, it seems fitting Nancy would be so intentional about leaving her own piece of it.
Yaggy Society Member Links GBMC’s Past & Future
Greater Living - GBMC HealthCarehttps:/www.gbmc.org/greater-living
December 4, 2017