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Though she died in 2008 at age 92, Edna Papazian left a generous gift that still supports a cause dear to her heart: NCH's Research Fellowship program.
Started in 2005, this program helps direct-care nurses conduct research projects related to patient care. Over a year, each fellowship participant poses a research question, implements a study design and shares the results with colleagues locally and nationally. One project, for example, evaluated the knowledge and practice of nurses in assessing the needs of patients from culturally diverse backgrounds.
A dedicated NCH donor, Edna was so impressed by the program that she created an NCH charitable gift annuity to support it. The annuity generated retirement income during her life, and the remainder was designated to fund the Research Fellowship after her passing.
Known not only as a generous donor but also as a gifted conversationalist, Edna had many friends within the NCH family. Gloria Reidinger, NCH's director of Research, says Edna enjoyed attending "Research Day," where the nurses and beneficiaries of Edna's gift presented their research projects and had a chance to meet her. "She read every poster and discussed the results with each nurse," Reidinger says. "She was very involved and inquisitive, and she knew a lot about science."
Everyone who knew her has similar stories about Edna's wide-ranging curiosity and gracious manner.
Born Edna Keller, she and her three sisters grew up on the far south side of Chicago, where her father, at the South Water Market, sold produce grown on his Indiana farmland. She enjoyed learning about plants and acquired a lifelong interest in botany. As an adult, she settled in New England and worked as a secretary at Yale University, where she met and married genetics professor Haig Papazian in 1967. The couple lived in France after Haig retired. When he died, Edna moved to downtown Arlington Heights to be closer to family.
Edna first got involved in charitable giving to NCH through her longtime financial advisor, Craig Christell of Edward Jones Investments. When Christell was serving as an NCH Foundation trustee, he told her about advancements at NCH, which piqued her interest. Her first gift to the Hospital was also a charitable gift annuity, and the remainder of that one supports NCH's patient assistance fund.