Arleen Teichen, Rush’s longest-serving volunteer with more than 60 years of service, passed away in January at the age of 100. The late Woman’s Board member is remembered most for her work in the chapel and her efforts to comfort patients and families.
“One of her real legacies is the Woman’s Board’s support for the memorial services we have for families who’ve lost loved ones at Rush,” said Rev. Clayton Thomason, JD, MDiv, the Bishop Anderson Professor of Religion and Medicine and chairperson of the Department of Religion, Health and Human Values. “She would attend each service and sit with families afterward to hear their stories and look at pictures. It was a great source of comfort.”
Teichen understood the families’ grief firsthand. In 1967 she lost her son Tommy, age 12, to cancer. He passed away at Rush, then known as Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital.
“I was a young girl when she first began volunteering. After my little brother died, it took her a while to get back into the building, but she did,” said Teichen’s daughter, Sharie Teichen Escalera. “My mom’s service at Rush was, to her, her God-given ministry. All my life, she told me, ‘You will feel so fulfilled by helping others.’ There was a simple reason she gave so much to Rush: She loved helping people in need.”