It has been more than four years since Auxiliary member Jean Gillan walked
the halls of Torrance Memorial’s fifth floor Medical/Surgical Services
unit, visiting patients and sharing stories in her thick, Scottish brogue
with nurses and staff. However, staff members such as Lourdes Antonio,
RN, still readily recall her big heart and no-nonsense manner.
“I can still remember her walking from patient room to patient room,
carrying her clipboard,” Antonio says. “She was always very
orderly and her hair always neatly done. She took her role very seriously
and paid close attention to detail, but was also very kind, passionate
and motherly. She would take time to thank the nurses and bring us cookies.
She was very thoughtful.”
Dorothy and Joe Thompson were Gillan’s personal friends and also
fellow Auxiliary members. Joe Thompson worked closely with Gillan in her
role as a patient representative, which required visiting patients and
communicating their needs to staff. The Thompsons are long-time residents
of Palos Verdes Estates, as was Gillan. They recall her “conservative”
yet “spirited” demeanor.
“I will always remember her driving around in her snazzy, red Cadillac
with whitewall tires,” Dorothy says with a chuckle. “When
we would go to lunch, all the waiters knew her.”
Mary Matson, director of Volunteer Services at Torrance Memorial, recalls
Gillan as “classy in every way.” She continues, “An
interesting thing about Jean is that she never wore the usual white uniform
pants while volunteering. She always wore a long, white skirt.”
Gillan went on medical leave in 2008 and was not able to return. She passed
away in 2011. Since she often spoke about her love for Torrance Memorial,
it came as no surprise to those who knew her to learn she had designated
a gift to the medical center in her trust.
Her donation will be included in the $1 million, multi-year pledge made
by the Torrance Memorial Auxiliary designated toward the naming of the
new Auxiliary Healing Garden. The serene garden will be located between
the new Patient Tower and existing facility. It will help relieve stress
and aid in the patient healing process by connecting patients, visitors
and staff to nature and daylight.
“We are most grateful for Jean’s loyalty and commitment to
excellence in health care in the South Bay,” says Laura Schenasi,
executive vice president, Torrance Memorial Health Care Foundation. “This
generous gift resulting from her foresight demonstrates the significant
impact bequests can have on our medical center, creating lasting legacies
that will benefit our community for generations to come.”