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A Legacy of Care and Compassion

June 11, 2019

Stu and Ray Stitchman gave quietly throughout their lives. Now their understated generosity is creating a legacy of care and compassion by supporting students entering the nursing field.

Stu was born March 29, 1922, was raised in Waterloo, and graduated from West High. Ray was born on June 12, 1924, in North Carolina and later moved to Virginia. It was in Virginia while serving in World War II that Stu met Ray.

During Stu’s service in the U.S. Navy in World War II, he was severely wounded and hospitalized for 16 weeks. As he healed from his injuries, he experienced first-hand the difference a nurse can make in the stay, and life, of a patient. His hospital stay raised his awareness of the excellent service provided by well-caring nurses, and it is a memory he would carry throughout his life.

The couple eventually settled in Waterloo. Stu owned Heating and Cooling Supply Company in Waterloo, working alongside his wife who served as the business’ Executive Vice President. 

As the years went by Stu never forgot about the treatment his nurses provided during his recovery, and he became concerned about the increasing shortage of skilled nurses. To help others as he had been helped, Stu and Ray established the Stitchman Education Fund to provide scholarship opportunities for students from northern Iowa to enroll in nursing programs within the state of Iowa.

Stu passed away in 2003 and Ray in 2017. While the couple created the fund during their lifetime, their plan to give to the fund through their estate after they were gone increased the impact they are having on the lives of students. In 2018, the Stitchman Education Fund awarded 14 scholarships to deserving students.

Even though the Stitchmans gave quietly during their lifetime, their legacy will speak volumes to nursing students who will someday make a difference for patients in need of compassionate care. The Stitchman Education Fund with the Community Foundation is a permanent legacy to Stu and Ray’s true giving spirit.