Every so often we are touched by the story of a donor and the inspiration behind their generous spirit.
Marjorie Wilkie smiles fondly as she remembers the time when Herb’s work took them to 8 different states when the kids were young. “We finally settled back in Australia for a bit before returning to the states once again. It’s this kind of family adventure that was at the forefront of their lives together. Marjorie’s face lights up when she unfolds the world map that shows all the places they visited as a couple and as a family. Herb, born in Connecticut, was a professional fundraiser; “Before organizations hired their own professionals, Herb consulted with hospitals and colleges all over the US and Canada” Marjorie recalls; “He eventually came to Australia and that’s where he met me”. When their three children grew to school age, they settled at the Wilkie ancestral home in Stamford, New York – a tiny town of 1,000 people in the Catskill Mountains. There they ran a Montgomery Ward catalogue franchise for 17 years until the long running catalogue company shut down in 1985. Always the adventurers, Herb and Marjorie made their way west in 1986 to see the World Exposition on Transportation and Communication in Vancouver, or as we all remember it; Expo ‘86. They decided to spend the day on Vancouver Island and as most people do, they fell in love with the Island. What was a ‘day’ trip turned into the next 30 years of their lives. The Wilkies ran the Lookout Bed & Breakfast in Schooner Cove, Nanoose Bay for 17 years, until their second retirement finally took and they settled in Parksville. In the Parksville community Herb volunteered by sitting on the S.O.S. Board of Directors and with Marjorie delivered meals on wheels & drove seniors to medical appointments and actively participated in the life of Knox United Church. Herb also helped to bring the first Probus club to Nanoose Bay. In 2014 Herb went to the Oceanside Health Centre with a suspected heart attack and was rushed to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital where they confirmed the diagnoses. “I am sure they saved his life”, says Marjorie; “He had wonderful care”. Marjorie was blessed to have Herb with her for another two years until a fall in 2016 revealed a cancerous kidney that quickly spread to his lungs and took his life in only a month. Herb was given such loving care and attention throughout his illness that Marjorie decided in November to give a gift to the Foundation in support of diagnostic medical equipment at the Oceanside Health Centre. Marjorie’s gift is making a significant difference to the many Oceanside residents who use the centre and will help in diagnosing cancers like the one that took Herb. “He tried so hard to get home”, Marjorie says “but that wasn’t meant to be”. Herb may not have come home but his generosity of spirit will live on in the legacy of giving that Marjorie has continued in his name. The Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation is incredibly thankful to Marj Wilkie for her support in the purchase of medical equipment for the Oceanside Health Centre.
Mr. Gerald Leslie Fetterly was a remarkable man. The oldest in a large family, he left home a the age of twelve to earn his own way in life. First working as acook in a northern Ontario work camp, then riding the rails across the country to British Columbia where he was a sherman, a taxi operator, open pit miner and a builder. He was a member of the Masons, a storyteller and a great friend. A testament to this was his 80th birthday when hundreds of people appeared to wish him the best. He excelled in many talents, but had a special a-nity for working with wood. In 1972 he built his own home and that expression of creativity served his desire to pay tribute to his beloved wife Eileen. He used the sale of his home to invest in those that shared her passion for healthcare. In his Will Gerald left instructions for the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation to create educational bursaries for nursing students in Nanaimo. He knew the value of a nurse to a community and requested the establishment of the “Eileen Margaret Jackson Endowment Fund” in honour of his late wife Eileen. As a young nurse Eileen worked 12-14 hour shifts in Winnipeg General Hospital, the Veteran’s Hospital, and then in maternity at Winnipeg’s Grace Hospital. Her enthusiasm soon turned to public health and she earned her role as head of the Public Health Department in Winnipeg through experience and further education. She spent many hours a day on house calls specifically requesting the most poverty stricken neighbourhoods, knowing that was where she was needed most. Upon retirement in the early 1980’s she moved to the BC Coast where she met and married Gerald. Due to the vision and forethought of Gerald Fetterly, the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation now awards three annual bursaries of $1,000 each to high-school graduates of School District #68 entering into the eld of nursing. This legacy gift is not only generous; it creates a lasting dynamic testament to Eileen, a pioneer in public health whose passion for healthcare now transcends her life.