Lasting Memories Lead to Nursing Scholarships

Mike and Hilda Brock have lasting memories of Frances Brock Templeton. Her dedication to others, her commitment to family and her infectious energy are just a few them. It’s in Templeton’s honor that the Brocks are making a generous gift to the School of Nursing. Their donation will establish the Frances Brock Templeton Endowed Scholarship Fund to bolster learning opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate nursing students.

Frances Brock Templeton in her Bellevue home backyard

“I am very grateful that the Brocks decided to honor Mike’s mother, Frances Templeton, by providing such a generous gift to establish a scholarship in her name. This legacy gift bolsters our ability to educate and train the next generation of nurses who will enhance the health and well-being of populations, locally, regionally, and across the globe,,” said Azita Emami, Ph.D., M.S.N., R.N.T, R.N., F.A.A.N., executive dean, Robert G. and Jean A. Reid Endowed Dean, of the UW School of Nursing.

A devoted nurse for more than three decades, Templeton worked in private practice and in several Seattle hospitals before coming to the University of Washington as part of the first wave of nurses employed at the UW Medical Center in 1959 – known then as University Hospital.

The Brock’s $2.7 million gift is partly the result of the sale of the family home and surrounding five-acres of land. Owned by the family since mid 1940s, the modest home is located near downtown Bellevue and was once a small farm with fruit trees and livestock.

“She was a very good nurse. She was always empathetic with people in her care. That’s one of the reasons we’re doing what we’re doing,” recalls Mike, her son. Templeton worked in the organ transplant clinic where she assisted in patient recovery. “She was always professional and always held high standards.”

Mike remembers that her uniforms were always spotless — always starched and ironed. “It’s funny,” he says with a chuckle, “I don’t actually remember her ironing them. But she must have, because she ironed everything — even the bed sheets.”

Young Mike Brock and his mother, Frances Brock Templeton

And when she wasn’t in her uniform, she dressed to the ‘Tee,’ echoes Hilda, about her mother-in-law. “She was the type of person who always appeared ready to go out to dinner.”

To this day the property still boasts various fruit trees — apples, figs and cherries. “We grew almost everything we ate,” says Mike as thinks back on the hours he worked alongside his sister and mother, clearing the land, collecting eggs and canning fruit. “Mother worked just as hard at home as she did at the hospital.”

Templeton retired after 15 years of caring for patients at the UW Medical Center, but she didn’t slow down. She traveled the world with her second husband, Frederic Templeton, a renowned UWMC radiologist. She organized classes for over 700 retirees in the community. And, of course, she cared for the property by tending the rhododendrons, pulling unsightly weeds and harvesting fruit.

And though he’s lived in California since his time in college, Mike continued to help on the farm. “I’ve been coming home for more than a half-century,” he says. “At one time, I came home every week. I would fly up on Tuesdays and return to California on Thursdays.”

Since Templeton’s death, the Brocks have maintained a tradition of coming home. The couple makes monthly trips from the Bay Area — where Mike is a retired banker and former wine merchant and Hilda is a retired semi-conductor executive — to clear leaves, cut grass, plant flowers and prune trees.

Hilda and Mike Brock in the Bellevue home

Married for nearly 30 years, the Brocks often finish each other’s sentences, recalling favorite memories of life with Templeton, like her tasty apple pie. Nowadays, she makes the crust and he mixes the filling. When asked what makes the pie special, they both agree it’s the apples from the farm. “They’re Gravenstein,” says Hilda.

In their 70s, the Brocks realize the monthly visits aren’t sustainable. They’ve decided it’s time to sell. But they are deeply proud that their mother’s legacy will continue in the form of scholarships at the School of Nursing. Mike believes she would be honored to know that the land will create generations of new passionate nurses. “Mother spent half of her career at the University Hospital. Caring for patients was her mission in life.”