The Waud Family: A History of Devotion
In 1935, Anne Byron Smith made two momentous decisions.
One was to marry Morrison Waud, a young lawyer. The other was to join the Rush Woman's Board, following in the footsteps of her mother, Emily Birnie Smith, who had been a dedicated board member since 1915.
Both decisions have enriched her life tremendously. Anne and Morrison remain devoted to each other after 64 years of marriage. Their six children — Diana, Ernie, Ronnie, Morrie, David and Debbie — visit frequently. And they cherish the time they spend with their 10 grandchildren.
"We're truly blessed," Morrison says, "to have all of these children around us."
The Wauds moved to Lake Forest in 1945 and liked it so much that it's been their home ever since. Morrison was a member of the law firm Gardner, Carton & Douglas, which, coincidentally, provided legal services for Rush. "We were doing quite a bit of work for them, and Mr. Carton was very active in affairs there," Morrison says. "So I started offering all of our employees free physicals — provided they went to Rush for the physicals." Though he retired from the firm in 1974 — "They threw me out" he says with a wry smile — his relationship with Rush was far from over.
While her husband was helping his colleagues and friends stay healthy, Anne was helping to ensure that millions of total strangers received health care. She and the rest of the Woman's Board were raising money to establish the Women's Board Cancer Treatment Center and the Woman's Board Depression Treatment & Research Center. They were also supporting innovative medical research at Rush, including studies of Alzheimer's Disease and establishing scholarships at Rush University.
Anne's relationship with the Woman's Board has lasted longer than most marriages — though not her own, of course. With 64 years of service, she is the longest-standing member of the board and has served even longer than her mother, who was a member for 61 years, until her death in 1976.
A Family Dedicated to Rush
Anne's is yet another chapter in her family's legacy of involvement with Rush, which began nearly a century ago. Her grandfather, Byron Laflin Smith, was president of the Board of Managers of Presbyterian Hospital from 1906 to 1914. And in the decades since, members of the Smith and Waud Families have enthusiastically supported Rush and its mission by becoming members of the Anchor Cross Society, and by serving on the Board of Trustees, the Associates and, of course, the Woman's Board.
In October 1998, Morrison decided to honor his wife's commitment to the Woman's Board by making a contribution to the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging to establish a resource center in her name. The Anne Byron Waud Patient and Family Resource Center opened on June 2, 1999.
The center is the first of its kind in Chicago. Located on the fourth floor of the Johnston R. Bowman Health Center, it provides comprehensive information about healthy aging, age related health problems, health care services, and community programs and services for older adults.
Patricia Rush, MD, (then co-director of the Rush Institute of Healthy Aging) conceived the idea of having a resource center for patients and their families in the Institute for Healthy Aging several years ago. But it wasn't until the proposal for such a center caught Morrison Waud's eye — as he was leafing through a booklet of proposals sent by the Woman's Board to its members in October — that Rush's vision became a reality.
A Meaningful Gift
Throughout their lives and their marriage, Morrison and Anne have given generously, and without fanfare, to a number of organizations. They have never sought the spotlight. They simply wanted to share their blessings with others.
"I think anybody who has been fortunate enough to get a little ahead of the game financially should give back," Morrison says. "It's just something you ought to do. The only question is whether you do enough of it."
After reading the Woman's Board proposal, he decided that funding a community resource center at Rush would be a lasting and meaningful way to honor Anne and her concern for quality patient care.
"I liked the idea very much," he says. "What really appealed to me was that it had to do with aging, and things Anne and I were going through."
They were both delighted when the Waud Center opened seven months later, and Morrison hopes it will serve as a model for major medical centers nationwide. "It's very well done, and I'm glad it's gotten off to such a great start," he says. "But to me, this is the beginning of the concept, not the end."