John & Sarah Uren – A Legacy of Caring and Sharing

Thursday, November 18, 2010  •  Patient Stories

The UrensJonathan (John) and Sarah (Sally) Uren met after World War II and married in 1948. After busy years of careers and raising a family in Michigan, they retired in 1978. With summer residence in northern Michigan, their adventurous spirits took them to various towns in South Carolina and Florida before they settled on Lakeland as their winter home in 1987.

They were familiar with Lakeland, as Sarah’s parents had spent several winters at the Lakeland Terrace Hotel in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

According to their children, both Jonathan and Sarah were active and eager to be of service to the community. Sarah’s degree in library science and previous hospital volunteer experience made LRMC an easy choice. She became fast friends with the library staff and volunteers.

Sarah was already volunteering when Jan Booker, Medical Librarian, came to work at LRMC in 1989. According to Jan, “Sarah was a great teacher – almost like a second mother. She loved her family and loved to travel.”

“If she wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have survived. Her efforts and guidance made the library what it is today,” says Jan.

Jonathan Uren’s training led to him splitting his time between an alcohol and drug counseling center and LRMC where he made many friends. Even John’s sister, Margaret Uren spent a few winters in Lakeland in the 1990’s and signed up to volunteer at LRMC!

When Sarah passed away in 1998, Jonathan made a gift to the Medical Library Fund in her memory. Then Jonathan went even one step further, he used his estate plan to provide an even larger gift to the Fund, perpetuating the memory of Sarah, her love of books and years of work in libraries.

Giving through memorial gifts can create a wonderful legacy of caring and sharing. During their lifetime, Jonathan and Sarah Uren valued and promoted philanthropy. As a result, the Sarah Uren Medical Library Fund continues to receive gifts from their children and serves as an on-going tribute to Sarah and her wonderful family.

“The library was Sarah’s love,” remembers Jan fondly. Even today Jan admits she looks to Sarah’s picture wishing she could have her advice.

“As we kids visited Lakeland over the years, we too have learned more about the community, made friends, and discovered favorite coffee shops, bookstores and

restaurants. Lakeland has become a familiar place, a place where a part of our family’s roots have grown,” recalls the Uren family.

Even more, they say, “It is a special thrill to visit Jan and Joyce in the LRMC medical library and to see the beautiful facility, which has been extended and improved through the help of our family.” And who knows…perhaps another generation of the Uren family will one day live in Lakeland and volunteer at LRMC.

Jan says it best. “She’s our angel. They are always with us.” And all those who use the resources provided by the library are surely thankful for their legacy.