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Alice Ruston: leaving a legacy

Alice Ruston: leaving a legacy GRHF story Alice Ruston: leaving a legacy GRHF story

This story of legacy begins in 1940, when Alice Ruston graduated from the KW Hospital School of Nursing at Waterloo College (now Wilfrid Laurier University) and embarked on a career in nursing.

Today, we remember Alice for the years of service she gave to patients and the incredible gift she leaves that will contribute to the health of the community for years.

It was at KW Hospital (now Grand River Hospital) and in their jobs as nurses where Alice and Marjorie McQueen (nicknamed Queenie) met and built a lifelong friendship. Alice worked in childbirth and Marjorie in the operating room and medical imaging department. They each gained valuable skills in these areas and touched the lives of many.

They gained reputations as strong leaders and mentors to their colleagues. As head nurses in their departments, Alice and Marjorie were responsible for training new students at the School of Nursing. Past students have fond memories of their mentors. Despite being known as strict teachers by their students, they were loved and adored by everyone inside and outside the hospital.

“Alice was a very close family friend. She was there for the births of my brothers and sisters. In fact, she was instrumental in saving my own life when I was born,” says Tom Close, friend and executor of Alice’s Will. “We always knew her and her dear friend Marjorie as Aunt Alice and Aunt Marj, albeit there was no marital or blood relation. Both joined our family for every holiday and birthday. We knew them as family members and as truly professional nurses.”

In 1987, Alice passed away from pancreatic cancer. She took care of Marjorie, her friend for over forty years, by making her a life tenant of her estate. In 2017, Marjorie died and the estate which was maintained so well by her friend was donated to Grand River Hospital Foundation. As per Alice’s wish, the gift of $500,000 will be directed to palliative care and medical imaging.

Even though many years have passed since Alice and Marjorie practiced nursing, the legacy of Alice’s gift will carry on for a long time helping even more patients at the hospital where they spent so much time.

The story of Alice was shared at Grand River Hospital Foundation’s Legacy and Loyalty Luncheon. Joined by Tom and his brother, Dr. Robert Close, we fondly remembered Alice and Queenie and felt inspired about the impact this gift will have on the future of health care.

Thank you Alice and Queenie for keeping patients in your hearts and for pioneering the way for more powerful women to lead in health care.

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