A Nurse Who Keeps Giving

Retiree’s legacy gift supports advanced education.


Phyllis Crouse is the first to admit that when she began work at Mary Greeley Hospital in 1956 she “didn’t think it was going to last 45 years.” Looking back today, she can’t imagine having been anywhere else.

Crouse, MPH, BSN, RN worked in virtually every department during her tenure, filling roles ranging from direct care provider to supervisor, director and a member of the senior leadership team. She was instrumental in a fundraising effort that involved clipping 2.4 million Betty Crocker coupons to enable the purchase of equipment that would allow for  the launch of the dialysis program. In her later years, she was responsible for developing and introducing the popular Prime Time Alive program for older adults.

“I am so very fortunate to have had the opportunity to do all that I did,” she says with a broad smile. “I can honestly say that there wasn’t any one thing in my 45 years that was more important than any other. I wouldn’t have stayed so long if I didn’t love it so much.”

Even in retirement she continues to work to advance the quality of care at Mary Greeley Medical Center.


The Phyllis E. Crouse Nursing Legacy Scholarship is designated to support advanced education for nurses at a master’s level. The first two to receive the award are Steve Gelder, MSN, RN, CEN, director of Emergency Services, and Bonnie Castro, BSN, RN, supervisor of Ambulatory Care Services.

Castro says she is humbled to be honored with the scholarship.

“I have been very blessed to receive the Phyllis Crouse Nursing Legacy Scholarship to assist me in pursuing my master’s degree in nursing leadership,” she says. “Phyllis has been a pioneer in advanced education for nurses, and has been a wonderful example of supporting the next generation of nursing education. I hope to one day follow her example and give  back to nurses working to develop their careers.”

Crouse says the decision to give was a simple one.

“This is my way of paying back all of the wonderful memories I have of the physicians, my coworkers and everyone at Mary Greeley,” she says. “I am so thankful that Mary Greeley was so good to me.”

Crouse says funding a scholarship focused on advanced education fits  nicely with her outlook on life. She is, and always has been, a firm believer in lifelong learning.

“Believe it or not, I still keep up with my continuing education and maintain my nursing license to this day,” she says. “I renew every three years. Remaining engaged and continuing to learn is what keeps me young.” 


Crouse’s generosity is having a tangible impact.

“My education will equip me to best lead and mentor the nurses I oversee, which will have a positive impact on patient care,” Castro says. “We are all here to provide the best quality patient-centered care. We thank Phyllis for such a meaningful gift that will carry her nursing legacy forward for generations.”

In addition to providing continued support of the scholarship fund, Crouse recently became a member of the Greeley Society, designating the Mary Greeley Medical Center Foundation as a beneficiary in her estate plan. By joining the deferred giving program, Crouse is adding to her legacy at the medical center.

Her estate plan will provide ongoing funding for the scholarship, as well as establish the Brenda Lynne Lorenz-Smith Innovation Fund. The innovation fund honors Crouse’s daughter, Brenda, who died in 2011. Like her mother, Brenda also had a career in nursing.

“Brenda was a passionate advocate for her patients,” Crouse says with pride. “Her  compassion and drive had a positive and profound impact on many lives and this fund will continue that legacy.”

The family legacy of caring for others also involves Crouse’s stepdaughter, Terry, who is also a nurse.

“I call Terry my ‘inherited daughter’ because she was an adult when I married her father, Verl,” says Crouse. “We have always had a wonderful connection and a big part of that has been our shared love of nursing.”

Ultimately, Crouse’s support for the work of the Mary Greeley Medical Center Foundation is aimed at having an impact on care for generations to come.

“Education has always been important to me,” she says. “By encouraging the pursuit of advanced degrees, our care givers and members of the leadership team are gaining knowledge they can apply to improve the quality of care, and are modeling behavior those
they work with can aspire to.”


Program offers an avenue to leave a legacy.

A touching act of philanthropy built Mary Greeley Medical Center. Capt. Wallace Greeley built the hospital to honor the memory of his late wife, and then gave it to the city of Ames. More than a century later, Mary Greeley remains a vital healthcare resource for central Iowa.

In honor of Capt. Greeley’s commitment to the community, the Mary Greeley Foundation created the Greeley Society. The Greeley Society recognizes donors who have provided for the MGMC Foundation in their estate plan with a lifetime income gift or as a beneficiary of a will, trust, retirement plan or life insurance policy.

These generous and visionary donors are listed on the feature wall in the main hallway of the medical center and on the Mary Greeley website. Members also receive special mailings throughout the year, including an invitation to the annual Greeley Society appreciation luncheon in the summer and the annual Foundation celebration in the fall.

For more information on how you can make a lasting impact at Mary Greeley and become a member of the Greeley Society, please contact Rita Gilbertson, senior development and planned giving officer, at 515-239-2421.

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Ames, IA 50010

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