Honoring a true gentleman: Grateful family member spotlight
In the Wake of Tragedy, Local Family “Pays it Forward” Through Generosity
“The care Stu got was phenomenal. They cared as much about our family as they did about him.” – Jeanne Courtice
The evening of March 21, 2019, began much like any other for Stuart and Jeanne Courtice.
Stu went to take his usual evening shower as Jeanne went about her regular evening routine. But as soon as Stu turned on the water, he felt an excruciating headache. He returned to the bedroom and Jeanne could see that something was wrong — this was not a regular headache.
When they arrived at the hospital 20 minutes later, the Courtices learned that Stu’s headache had been caused by a stroke on the left side of his brain. He saw a neurologist and a neurosurgeon who explained that, due to the severity of his condition, the situation was grave. He had lost the ability to speak and much of the movement on his right side.
Angels among us
Just when it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse, some might say an angel stepped in.
Their daughter-in-law had been familiar with Emanate Health Hospice (formerly Citrus Valley Hospice), so Jeanne mentioned it to the doctor. An hour later, she was meeting Dawn, the Hospice intake coordinator.
“Dawn made all the arrangements,” explained Jeanne. “It seemed like an answer to a prayer.”
Once Stu was transferred to Emanate Health Hospice, it was obvious that they had made the right decision. “It was just a lovely facility,” relayed Jeanne. “Once we arrived, the care started immediately, making Stu comfortable and settling him in.”
Caring for the whole person - and the whole family
At Emanate Health, we know that patients are also people. So when it comes to caring for patients, we care for each individual — individually. That means not only providing personalized care, but also being respectful of each person’s culture, personal beliefs and human dignity. It means tending to the family, as well.
“The care Stu got was phenomenal,” Jeanne recalled. “They cared as much about our family as they did about him.
“The night nurse was just so caring and loving, and took such good care of him,” she went on to say. “Everybody was fantastic. Even the custodian, he was just so warm and welcoming every time we saw him. The whole staff was just marvelous.”
But the person who stood out most to Jeanne was the Emanate Health Hospice Chaplain.
The chaplain’s role is to provide culturally respectful care, which can include anything that brings the individual family meaning, comfort or a sense of dignity, according to Rev. Dr. Leslie Beckhart Jenal.
For Mr. and Mrs. Courtice, it meant honoring their Christian values. Both Stu and Jeanne had been active in their local church for years. Rev. Dr. Beckhart Jenal encouraged the family to talk to Stu, to thank him, tell him they love him and release him to his eternal rest.
“Chaplain Leslie was just wonderful — she brought us such peace,” Jeanne said. “She was so comforting, with a sweet sense of humor … and let us lead the way in conversations.”
Mr. and Mrs. Courtice were at Emanate Health Hospice for only a short time. But the compassion with which they were treated made a lasting impact. “I felt so close to everyone even though it was only two weeks,” Jeanne said.
Mr. and Mrs. Courtice were married for nearly 62 years. They lived in San Gabriel for 54 years before moving to La Verne not long before Stu fell ill. They had moved across the street from their daughter and son-in-law. They also have a son and daughter-in-law who live on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, as well as four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A proud alumnus of the USC School of Architecture, Stu worked as an architect, for Sears and May Co. in Development and Planning, and then for Verizon before retiring. He also served on the Board of Trustees at San Gabriel Methodist Church and the Temple City Board of Education, and volunteered for the Boy Scouts when his son was a Scout.
Paying it forward
Stu was a true gentleman. This was the sentiment shared repeatedly by friends and family on the day of his memorial service.
In gratitude for the compassion with which they were treated, Jeanne gave a generous gift to Emanate Health Hospice and requested contributions from friends and family in lieu of flowers. The Hospice has since received 17 donations in Stu’s honor.
When it comes to caring for patients, we care for each individual — individually.
“Everybody was fantastic. Even the custodian, he was just so warm and welcoming every time we saw him. The whole staff was just marvelous.” – Jeanne Courtice