Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rush Recollections

My wife has just returned from being a patient at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Being at Rush always brings back memories, mostly centered around Dr. Andrew Thomson. Several times I met Dr. Thomson at his office in the Professional Building and we would go to the cafeteria for lunch. He always had great stories to tell about his family and I have always been sorry I didn’t have a recorder. He took great pride in his family history and heritage. Dr. Thomson was president of the medical staff at Rush from 1983 through 1985 and was elected to the board of trustees in 1988.

Once on a Spring day, we walked across the Loop in Chicago.  We had attended a board meeting at the Tower Club and then walked to the University Club on Michigan Ave for another meeting. At the University Club, we took those beautiful stairs to the mezzanine level and found a quiet place to talk. I don’t remember the conversation but it finally turned to the capital campaign of the Saint Andrew Society and I asked if he could help facilitate a gift. He said he could and it became an amazing moment that I will not soon forget.

Many organizations and individuals owe much to Dr. Thompson and his generosity. The Night Ministry in Chicago was especially important to him and he talked about it often. I hope we never forget his kindness and concern for everyone. In 1994, Dr. Thomson was honored by The National Society of Fundraising Executives. Several members of the St. Andrew’s Society, wearing kilts, attended the event at the Westin Hotel on Michigan Avenue. He was also our Distinguished Citizen in 1993 and served on our Board of Governors.

My last visit with Dr. Thomson occurred at the Scottish Home when the new building was being constructed. It was probably late 1997 or early 1998. We toured the nearly completed building and then he wanted to see the unfinished lower level. The only way down was using a very long ladder. We walked through the lower level in semi-darkness and finally up the ladder again. I know it was difficult for him but he never said a word. We had lunch in Riverside at the Chew-Chew and he had a hamburger and french fries. We talked about his worsening physical condition and the inevitable approach of death. He was full of faith and unafraid. I never saw him again.

During her most recent stay at Rush, Mary was in the Kellogg Pavilion, finished in 1956.  Walking along the street it appears that the old Presbyterian hospital is connected to the Kellogg building but you cannot tell how the old hospital is being used. There is nothing on the outside of the building not even a cornerstone, only the words “Presbyterian Hospital” above what must have been the main entrance. Attached to the Presbyterian hospital building is the Jones addition.

Daniel Jones left a large estate when he died in 1887. His executors decided to build an addition to the Presbyterian Hospital and name it after Mr. Jones. The hospital was given $150,000 to construct the building which was to be 5 stories high. At the time, this new building was used for hospital patients and there still remains a sign saying “emergency entrance.” It is also difficult to tell how the Jones building is used at the present time. I have yet to determine who Daniel Jones was or how he made his fortune.

The name Jones can indicate a Scottish heritage and we once had a rather large family as member of the Society named Jones. In fact, the mother was a resident of the Scottish Home and one of the sons was very involved as a volunteer at the Highland Games. I know he is dead but have lost track of the other family members. I seem to remember they were in the plumbing business.

Driving east on the Eisenhower expressway, one can hardly miss the new East Tower recently completed. This14-level patient care tower houses acute and critical care patients. I was told that Rush is investing a billion dollars in what they are calling the Rush Transformation which includes the new East Tower and renovation of their older buildings.

The first endowed chair at any private hospital in the country occurred at Rush. It was established as a memorial to Jean Schweppe Amour by Trustee A. Watson Amour III and other members of the Amour family. The Jean Schweppe Amour Chair of Neurology was established in 1963.

The Dr. Andrew and Peg Thomson Chair of Internal Medicine was established in 1993. “Established to honor Trustee and Rush physician Andrew Thomson, M.D., and his wife, Peg, a member of the Woman’s Board, on the occasion of Dr. Thomson’s retirement from active medical practice.”

Looking at the hospital donor list, the Scottish people of Chicago have been very generous with their money and time in making Rush one of the top hospitals in the nation.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus


June 2, 2012 - Next meeting of the History Club. Our speaker is David Simpson. He has been collecting Scottish coins for 30 years. He is a graduate of Aberdeen University and has researched Scottish coins in the British Museum, the Ashmolean Museum and Aberdeen University. He is a member of the Chicago Coin Club, the Hillside Coin Club and the American Numismatic Association.

The Scottish American Museum opens at 9:00 a.m. - Meeting starts at 10 and ends at noon.

The History Club does not meet in July or August and there are no pies for the June meeting just scones and coffee. The scones are pretty good, however, so come and enjoy the presentation.

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