“Woman’s” Best Friend Inspires Donor’s Legacy

Lura McEvoy and BrewsterThere was no mistaking Lura McEvoy and Brewster when they would visit patients at the Grandview Center for Rehabilitation. At 33 inches tall and 110 pounds, Brewster, a rescued golden retriever, had a commanding presence, but a gentle demeanor, that made both him and Mrs. McEvoy favorites of the visiting pet therapy program.

“As large as he is, he knew how to behave in the Center. He’d walk the halls with Lura and know right where he was needed and which rooms he should visit,” said Marcia Pittman, a longtime friend and fellow pet therapy program volunteer. “Lura got tremendous joy from these visits, knowing she was helping others and spreading her love of dogs.”

When Lura McEvoy realized that her three-year battle with cancer was coming to an end last October, she and her husband, Jack McEvoy, contacted The Dayton Foundation to create a charitable fund that would perpetuate her love of animals. Days before Mrs. McEvoy passed away, they established the Lura I. McEvoy Fund to benefit Mrs. McEvoy’s favorite charities, including the Greater Dayton Labrador Retriever Rescue and Referral Group.

“Animal rescue and adoption were very important to Lura,” said Jack McEvoy, who, along with his wife, had adopted Brewster and several other dogs during their 48 years of marriage. “She always was promoting the message of adoption over purchasing an animal from a local pet store. She definitely saw the value of adopting an unwanted or lost pet and giving it a good, loving home.”

As a regular visitor at Grandview and several other hospitals and nursing homes over the last decade, Lura McEvoy found great enjoyment in her work with patients. Her gentle and therapeutic nature helped to bring out the best in patients, often encouraging them to come out of their shells and engaging them both physically and emotionally, according to Belinda Isaac, an occupational therapist.

“Lura was very positive and proud of her work,” she said. “She and Brewster were named the Center’s Employees of the Month for their work. They made a great team, and we miss them terribly.”

Jack McEvoy recalled one elderly woman who found particular pleasure and comfort from his wife’s visits. “For several weeks Lura would take Brewster to visit a woman who was in a coma,” he said. “At each visit Lura would place the woman’s hand on Brewster’s head, until one day the woman moved her own hand to scratch Brewster. Not long after that she spoke Brewster’s name. It was her first word in a very long time. I still get emotional thinking about what a difference Lura had made in this woman’s life.”

As retired certified financial planners and longtime Charitable Checking Account℠ donors, the McEvoys understood the value of giving back to their community, as well as the importance of planning one’s estate.

“The Dayton Foundation is wonderful, and their staff was so helpful and kind in setting up this fund. I trust them 100 percent with my charitable funds and recommend that others use the Foundation for their giving, as well,” he said. “Lura gave of herself to so many people during her life. I know this fund was her wish for continuing her legacy.”

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File date: 9.20.14


Charles Simms

“You get a good feeling giving to the community through The Dayton Foundation and knowing that you’re inspiring future generations.” – Charles Simms, CEO of Simms Management Corporation and Dayton Foundation endowment fund donor

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