Charitable Donation Creates Gladice Wochner Memorial Courtyard

Gladice Wochner was known as something of an expert on etiquette. She also loved flowers, her family, and was a faithful and true friend to those who knew and loved her.

Now the deceased Humboldt County resident will also be known as the namesake for Harmony Manor's newly completed courtyard.

The Gladice Wochner Memorial Courtyard will be the centerpiece of Humboldt General Hospital's long-term care facility.

Harmony Manor has had a patio for many years which connects with the skilled nursing facility.

Even with cracks in the cement that made it difficult for residents to traverse the uneven terrain, and its poor showing of plant life, residents still appreciated the chance to use the space to enjoy their morning coffee, read, discuss issues and gather for an occasional barbecue.

But hospital officials felt it was becoming increasingly unsafe for residents to use.

So when CTA Architects confirmed the space could easily receive an extreme makeover as part of the already planned acute care expansion, HGH owner representative Mike Sheppard went to work.

He met with representatives from Harmony Manor and with the site's architects to create a patio design that not only provides the perfect backdrop for individual quiet time, but for facility-wide celebrations as well.

The new and improved courtyard includes beautiful new planting beds, tables, chairs and benches and a water feature; the project was completed earlier this year with the exception of new vegetation, which is slated for a spring 2014 planting.

The Humboldt County Hospital District Board of Trustees earmarked approximately $200,000 toward the project; however, a timely donation from the Humboldt Foundation's Gladice Wochner Memorial Fund will now cut that bill in half and create a namesake for the longtime local woman.

Gladice Wochner was born on January 12, 1908 and died in Winnemucca on November 22, 2003. According to local attorney and Humboldt Foundation member Bill Macdonald, the foundation received a sizeable grant upon Mrs. Wochner's death.

Small seed-money endowments were allocated for the county library, the local animal protection program and the senior citizens center. What was left was divided equally between matching-money funding for capital improvements at Great Basin College and Humboldt General Hospital.

The college grant paid for the Wochner Building at the local campus—a modular that currently houses the Technical Arts. However, the foundation board didn't identify an immediate need for the hospital, which it deemed appropriate in honoring Mrs. Wochner's memory at the time. So the money sat and waited for the right project to come along.

That's when Brian Belanger, a former Humboldt Foundation member who was well aware of the search for a good fit, read in the newspaper about the courtyard makeover. Belanger contacted Sheppard and Macdonald and the idea of a courtyard donation was hatched.

Sheppard and HGH CEO/Administrator Jim Parrish met several times with the Humboldt Foundation Board who, along with hospital trustees, approved the deal. In all, $110,758.98 has been donated to the hospital in Gladice Wochner's name.

Because the donation was a matching grant, the hospital will provide an accounting that reflects the foundation grant is matched by no less than the same amount by the hospital.

On Monday, November 18, Humboldt Foundation members met at the hospital for their monthly meeting and to dedicate the new courtyard in Mrs. Wochner's memory.

The group enjoyed a short ceremony and dedicatory prayer; refreshments followed in the Sarah Winnemucca conference room.

Macdonald said the courtyard will provide a fitting tribute to Mrs. Wochner. "We were interested in something that would provide a lasting memory of her," he said.

Hospital CEO/Administrator Jim Parrish said the extra money from Mrs. Wochner not only allowed the hospital to upgrade all aspects of the courtyard project, but provided funds to construct an even larger space, including a private alcove where families and others can meet.

"This money created a wonderful partnership with the Humboldt Foundation," said Parrish. "We are indebted to Mrs. Wochner, and this memorial courtyard will always carry her name and the memory of her generosity to this community."

The hospital plans to host a public grand opening of the "Gladice Wochner Memorial Courtyard" in May 2014. By then, the garden's planting beds will be filled with beautiful vegetation and finishing touches will have been added to the space.

"Truly, this will be a place of serenity and celebration for our residents," said Parrish. "We are very grateful for the efforts that made this all come together."