EVELYN ABRAHAMSON MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP | Shirley and Jim Waddell
Donor Contacts: Shirley and Jim Waddell began funding scholarships and grants in 1989 with the first scholarship being named for Jim’s parents. The Orville H. and Freda M. Waddell Scholarship at the University of Illinois is given annually to transferring students from statewide community colleges who are entering the field of Horticulture. Since that time, they have funded the Evelyn Abrahamson Memorial Scholarship in Nursing, the Ann Miller Waddell Memorial Scholarship in Nursing, the James and Shirley Waddell/SwedishAmerican Health System Scholarship and the James and Shirley Waddell/SwedishAmerican Medical Foundation Nursing Grant.
Evelyn was Shirley Waddell’s mother. Evelyn was born and raised near Paxton in central Illinois. She married Shirley’s father, Wendell Tibby, during the Depression and they lived on a nearby farm. When Shirley was sixteen months old, her father was killed in a farm accident leaving Evelyn to raise Shirley and her older brother. Evelyn was able to get a job at a dime store in Paxton that paid thirty- five cents per hour and had additional income renting rooms in their home to airmen who were stationed at nearby Rantoul Air Force Base.
Because of her difficult beginnings, Evelyn was unable to extend her personal education beyond high school, but made sure that both of her children would not be left in the same circumstances in their future. Shirley’s brother received a bachelor’s degree, and she received her nurse’s training at Methodist Hospital in Peoria. Shirley went on to work in various medical departments in central Illinois and then in Rockford.
Evelyn and Shirley were very close in spirit, if not proximity. When Evelyn passed away in 1989, it was the Waddell’s desire to honor her in some meaningful way that would leave a legacy for her to be remembered by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the future.
Shirley and Jim Waddell are very grateful for and proud of the many Rock Valley College School of Nursing graduates who have gone on to serve and assist so many people in our health systems and the community.