The late Clara Blasiman contributed her time and talent to West Branch students and area families during her life as a nurse and school volunteer - now that giving spirit will continue with a nursing scholarship.
"Education was very, very important to her, and nursing, too," Blasiman's sister, Alice Ryter, of Louisville, said.
A lump sum of $50,000 was donated recently from Blasiman's estate to the Sebring/West Branch Community Foundation, with a $2,500 scholarship to be awarded each year to a West Branch graduating senior who's going into nursing, starting with the Class of 2013.
"I think our whole family just hopes someone will have help with their career. Hopefully it will be as important to them as it was to her. She was very dedicated to nursing," Ryter said.
Blasiman passed away in January at the age of 90 after living 17 years at Copeland Oaks in Sebring, where she had continued her volunteer work by reading and writing for sight-impaired residents at Copeland Oaks and Crandall Medical Center.
A graduate of Louisville High School, she entered nursing school at Alliance City Hospital and enlisted in the Army Nurse Corp. during World War II. She later continued her education at Case Western Reserve University where she pursued her interest in obstetrics.
She returned to work at Alliance City Hospital, now known as Alliance Community Hospital, then later worked at Salem City Hospital, now known as Salem Community Hospital, and retired from there. According to Michele Hoffmeister, SCH Director of Public Relations, Blasiman started at the hospital in December 1950 and retired in January 1983.
"She was an excellent nurse who gave many years of quality care to her patients," Hoffmeister said.
Jo Anne Peppel, who also works at the hospital, said Blasiman was her nurse when she delivered both of her children, her daughter in 1977 and her son in 1978.
"She took very good care of us and she ran a tight ship. She was very organized and helped us new mommies," Peppel said. "She was just wonderful. I never forgot her name."
Even after she retired, she returned to her love of obstetrics and volunteered to accompany fathers during their wives' C-sections. She moved on by helping students at Knox, Beloit, Damascus and Goshen Center schools in the West Branch school district.
Ryter said she chose West Branch for the scholarship because those were the families her sister knew. She got to know the students and followed their careers and even sent cards to kids when she saw they had some sort of achievement in the papers.
According to Ryter, though, she was a very private person and never wanted anything for herself. She was a giving person and liked the idea of a scholarship to help students.
"She would say it was the thing to do," Ryter said.
John Scarpitti, Trustee at Large for the Sebring/West Branch Community Foundation, explained the foundation supports needs in the city of Sebring and in Butler, Smith, Goshen and Knox townships. The foundation has about $2.1 million in assets and distributes about $100,000 per year for charitable causes and scholarships, supporting both West Branch and Sebring graduating seniors.
According to a brochure, the foundation was established in December 1990. Donations are tax deductible and "are applied by the foundation to serve health, education, cultural and community needs ..." of the four townships and the communities within them.
Donations or gifts can be made in the form of cash, personal property, securities, life insurance, or a bequest in a will. The gifts can be donated as an unrestricted gift, an advised fund with the donor suggesting the distribution or an endowment fund/permanent fund to benefit the donor's favority charity or organization or to honor people or families with the income designated for a field of interest or specific purpose in the community, the brochure said. A Book of Memory has been established to perpetuate family names in the community through memorials.
People can also join the foundation at a cost of $10 for one year, $50 for five years or $100 for 10 years. Checks can be made payable to The Sebring/West Branch Area Community Foundation and mailed to the foundation at P.O. Box 70, Sebring, Ohio 44672.
For information about donations, bequests, contributions or applications for funding, call the foundation office at 330-938-9877.