The Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation recently received an initial gift of $10,000 to set up an endowed scholarship in memory of the late Dr. Joe L. and Judith T. Spears.
The endowment, a gift from Tim Spears, Beth Spears Grossman and Cathy Spears Spillman, children of Dr. and Mrs. Spears, will be used to provide scholarships for students in healthcare-related fields.
Dr. Spears was a long-time family practice physician in Texas County. He and Mrs. Spears resided and raised their family in Cabool area.
Tim Spears has worked with the TCMH Healthcare Foundation through the Bess Spiva Timmons Foundation, a private, family foundation of which Dr. Joe L. Spears was a past president. The Timmons Foundation has granted funds to the foundation for various projects.
“The Timmons Foundation does great work on a regular basis,” Tim Spears said. “But providing this endowed scholarship in memory of our parents is much more personal to us.”
Spears described the way his father came to the medical field in Texas County.
“My father, Joe, the son of a local farmer, was given the opportunity to study medicine when a local physician, Dr. Garrett Hogg, provided scholarship funds for Joe to attend medical school and set up a clinic in Cabool,” he said. “My parents were always grateful for the opportunity given to them, and they made every effort to recruit medical talent and services to the area.
Spears said his father would be proud to be associated with “an incentive for local youth to gain medical expertise and give back to the community.
“Cathy, Beth and I are certain that our parents would be proud of the scholarship named to honor their many years of service to the community they loved,” he said.
Spears also expressed excitement about developing the endowment and working with the TCMH Healthcare Foundation and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.
“This scholarship can have an impact on the future of healthcare in Texas County, and it continues the legacy of giving to support healthcare in Texas County that was so important to my parents,” he said.
According to Jay Gentry, foundation director, the Dr. Joe L. and Judith T. Spears Memorial Scholarship Fund endowment will be held and managed in an account with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) in Springfield. CFO, the healthcare foundation and the Spears family are working together to develop the scholarship criteria.
Although the amount and number of scholarships are not yet known, Gentry believes that the first scholarship will be awarded in 2011. The foundation board of directors will award scholarships from the endowment. Typically, a specific percentage of earnings in an endowed scholarship fund are awarded annually.
“Medical education is a focus area of the TCMH Healthcare Foundation,” Gentry explained. “Beginning an endowed scholarship is a large step forward for the foundation in recognizing and meeting the educational needs of area students interested in medicine for many years to come.”
The TCMH Healthcare Foundation is non-profit organizational arm of the hospital. It develops relationships and financial resources to support the healthcare programs, projects and services of the hospital.
For additional information about donor programs at TCMH, contact Gentry at 417-967-1377 or 866-967-3311, ext. 377.