Bartle sisters make history for Cornwall Community Hospital Foundation

Provided by the Cornwall Community Hospital Foundation
Bartle sisters make history for Cornwall Community Hospital Foundation
Sandra Copeland-Herrington, caregiver and the executor of the Bartle sisters’ estates, holding a photograph of Minnie and Rhoda Bartle. (Photo : Submitted photo)

Born in 1918 and 1923, raised on a farm in Finch, and established in Cornwall until their deaths in 2019 and 2021, Minnie and Rhoda Bartle lived modest lives, but left a legacy that will change the course of CCHF’s history. With Rhoda’s passing, Cornwall Community Hospital Foundation recently became the primary beneficiary of their estates, with a landmark gift of $2.5 million dedicated to the future of local patient care.

A teacher at Cornwall’s Central Public School, Rhoda lived a quiet life in Dover Heights with Minnie, a typist and talented painter. Members of Trinity Anglican Church, the sisters valued compassion and community, making regular donations to CCHF over the course of their lives. No one expected the sisters to leave the largest one-time estate received by the Foundation since its inception in 2004.

I recently sat down with Sandra Copeland-Herrington, Rhoda and Minnie’s caregiver and the executor of their estates, to learn more about her experiences with the sisters.

“Rhoda was my first-grade teacher, and we sang together in the Trinity Church Choir. She impacted my life, and we reconnected when I moved back to Cornwall in 1981,” said Ms. Copeland-Herrington. “Rhoda didn’t have children of her own – she and Minnie never married – but she treated me like a daughter. Being their caregiver meant a lot to me. I’m happy I could make sure their estate was executed as they wanted, helping make our hospital and community stronger.”

The impact of the Bartle legacy represents an incredible opportunity for the Foundation to support CCH. We look forward to further updating our community, but are pleased to share overarching plans for the estate:

  • On the horizon: a new CT scan – a million dollars will be allocated to the future purchase of a new CT scan machine. Offering local CT scans is a crucial service, providing diagnostic imaging that can change and save local lives. From the Emergency Department to units across CCH, patients rely on this essential equipment, and the current machine is nearing the end of its lifespan. Not covered by government funding, CCHF can now afford to fund a new machine thanks to Rhoda and Minnie’s philanthropy.
  • CCHF Forever – a million dollars will establish a charitable reserve fund, allowing the Foundation to build more resources supporting CCH’s needs into the future. State-of-the-art medical equipment is exceptionally expensive, costs continue to grow, and most machinery is not government funded. Over time, other donors may contribute to the reserve fund, helping CCHF further enable exceptional care.
  • Support for Mental Health Services – two hundred thousand dollars will be allocated between CCH’s Assertive Community Treatment Team (ACTT), a mobile program for individuals who experience serious mental illness and require ongoing intensive treatment, and St. Denis Centre, a 16-bed supportive addiction treatment facility for men aged 18 and over, run by CCH.

Estates take time, require strong attention to detail, a myriad of executor responsibilities, and exceptional support from legal and financial teams. Additional allocations will be made when final estate residuals are received by CCHF.

“The Bartle sisters always supported the Hospital Foundation, and Rhoda and I often spoke about our appreciation of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who provide compassionate care,” said Copeland-Herrington. “Having been a caregiver and working in pastoral care for many years, I’m inspired by Rhoda and Minnie’s gift and know it will help improve our hospital for generations to come.”

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