Foundation awards ‘transformational’ gift to cancer center on behalf of Middlebury couple

A Middlebury couple posthumously entrusted the Goshen Hospital and Health Care Foundation with a $400,000 gift that was awarded to the IU Health Goshen Center for Cancer Care on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

Posted on Dec. 18, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Dec. 18, 2013 at 4:47 p.m.

GOSHEN — The Goshen Hospital and Health Care Foundation has awarded a $400,000 gift to the IU Health Goshen Center for Cancer Care with the help of a posthumous donation from a Middlebury couple.

The foundation announced the gift Wednesday, Dec. 18, from Norval and Jean Poyser, who were both treated at the cancer center. The couple gave $391,000 to the foundation, which added another $9,000 to the total. The gift marks one of the largest donations the foundation has ever handled.

“This is one of the most transformational gifts that the foundation has received in its almost 45-year history,” foundation executive director Lynette Mischel said.

Both lifelong residents of Middlebury, Jean Poyser died in 2001 when she was 80 years old, and Norval Poyser died 10 years later at the age of 92. Mischel called the husband and wife “the classic all-American story from the heartland.” Mischel said close friends of the Poysers described the couple as humble, thoughtful, generous and hard-working. They valued education and family, she added.

“They loved each other deeply,” Mischel said. “They were inseparable, and they were always a team.”

The Poysers married in 1945, and they shared a passion for collecting tractors. Norval Poyser served as a director for First State Bank, Middlebury Co-op Creamery and the Elkhart County Farm Bureau Co-op. He was a charter member of the International Harvester Collectors Club and a member of the Mid-West Tool Collectors. The couple’s large tractor collection was auctioned off, and the funds raised were given to the Goshen Hospital and Health Care Foundation.

After careful consideration, the foundation’s board designated the $400,000 gift for medical research.

“The gift was entrusted to us by the Poysers to be used for the benefit of all the men, women and children in the area, and of course, that’s a pretty impactful way to help everyone,” Mischel said. “They were personally successful and gave back to the community in such a way that it will be lasting legacy.”

The gift will serve three different purposes to aid in cancer research, said Dr. Roderich Schwartz, medical director for IU Health Goshen’s Center for Cancer Care.

Part of the money will be used to establish the Poyser Cancer Research Department The rest will be used to help establish a partnership with Notre Dame’s Harper Cancer Research Institute as well as to enhance the hospital’s cancer screening services.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Poyser family for this very generous gift,” said Randy Chrisophel, CEO of IU Health Goshen. “As you hear about the gifts they have given around the community, the intentionality of creating a legacy of benefit and health and growth and building health into our community is just wonderful to realize and be a part of.”

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