A 1928 graduate of the former Brokaw School of Nursing has provided Advocate BroMenn Medical Center with a $1.5 Million gift that will be used in support of its soon-to-open new patient care tower.
Scott Ford, BroMenn’s vice president of development, was notified in March that BroMenn was one of two primary beneficiaries who would split the estate of Marie “Becky” Beckort McClanahan, an Evanston woman who passed away February 15, 2012 at the age of 105. After all debts are settled and a few fixed bequests are given to individual beneficiaries, the Advocate BroMenn share of the remainder is anticipated to be in excess of $1.5 million.
“We’re humbled and incredibly grateful for Mrs. McClanahan’s friendship and support,” said Ford. McClanahan made several modest donations to BroMenn’s Office of Charitable Giving over the years, but had given little indication that the hospital could expect such a sizeable contribution upon her passing.
“It is clear that the intentions of Mrs. McClanahan and her late husband, Rodman, were to maximize impact and benefit to their respective alma maters,” Ford said. Rodman McClanahan was a graduate of Northwestern University, with whom BroMenn will share the estate. Mr. McClanahan passed away in 1991.
Marie Beckort was born in 1907 to Elizabeth and Fred Beckort and grew up in Elkhart, Ill. She studied nursing in Normal at Brokaw School of Nursing, which at that time was affiliated with Brokaw Hospital, a predecessor of Advocate BroMenn Medical Center. In 1929, a year after her graduation from nursing school, she married Rodman McClanahan and the pair left central Illinois and settled in the Chicago suburb of Evanston. As was common at the time, Mrs. McClanahan initially gave up nursing to concentrate on starting a family, while Rodman rose to prominence with Middle West Service Co., a management and engineering consulting firm that is now part of Stanley Consultants. The couple had only one child, a boy born in 1930 who died in infancy.
Eventually, Mrs. McClanahan returned to nursing, working for a time as supervisor of a surgical floor at Evanston Hospital and as a night supervisor at Evanston Cradle, a local adoption agency. After her husband’s death, she lived for several years at the Presbyterian Home in Evanston.
“By all accounts, Mrs. McClanahan was very mentally sharp up until the final days of her life,” said Ford. “She followed the stock market, made financial transactions, and paid her own bills.”
Ford learned that Mrs. McClanahan first made her estate intentions known to Harris Bank in 1992, restating them again in their entirety in 2008. Her will created an “unrestricted” gift, which allows BroMenn the flexibility to direct these funds to the area of greatest need or impact. BroMenn has chosen to apply it to the new patient tower, which will provide state-of-the-art care to new mothers and infants, as well as to critically ill patients.
The hospital will soon dedicate a plaque and a walkway honoring Marie McClanahan in the new tower, celebrating this most generous contribution.
“We are extremely grateful for Mrs. McClanahan’s gift and the gifts of so many others whose philanthropic spirit and passion have the power to greatly transform and grow our health care ministry to this community,” Ford said.
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