Barbara Matthews Inspires a Spirit of Independence and Giving
When Barbara reminisces about her mother and father, Julia Knoxon and Eugene Hurley, she fondly remembers how her parents instilled a spirit of independence and a desire to do what she could to help others. Barbara’s father passed away when he was just 41 years old, so Barbara saw firsthand how important it is that women be able to take care of themselves.
Julia prompted Barbara to ensure her own independence by encouraging her to become a nurse or a teacher, which were the two professions most open to women at the time.
Barbara earned her nursing degree in 1935 and, together with her first husband, Charles Hedenkamp, built a business. They were disciplined, they had vision for the future, and they were determined to succeed. They were motivated to prosper so they could help others.
In the 1960s, Barbara and Charles moved to Boca Raton for part of
the year and became snowbirds. They believed in a future filled with advancements and innovations that might help people. This belief is part of what led Barbara to make her first gift to the hospital in 1966 the year it opened, and why she plans to make a very generous gift once again. “I believe you should give what you can where it is deserved, and make sure that what you invest in is making a difference,” she says. “You want to know that the organization you give to is a legitimate part of the community.”
Barbara feels that Boca Raton Regional Hospital is an organization worthy of her investment and support. Barbara and her subsequent husbands, Glenn Ingram and William Matthews, continued to give to the hospital over the years. Barbara made a significant gift through a charitable gift annuity in the 1980s, and she plans to make another gracious gift to support the hospital and the patients we serve by providing a gift from her estate.
Barbara Matthews is an honored member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a membership offered only if you are the descendant of a revolutionary (a relationship that might explain some of Barbara’s traits as well as her inherent dedication to independence and forging a better, more secure future for those around her).
As Barbara celebrates her 103rd birthday this summer, she continues to be an example of strength and kindness in our community. In addition to being an example to everyone who knows of her kindness and caring heart, her commitment to a lifestyle of giving, independence, and concern for others is an encouragement to us all.