On the last day of July four people gathered in the quiet main lobby of Pioneer Memorial Hospital to present a gift to the Prineville Hospital Foundation.
>Donation to local hospital foundation brings on reminiscences of donor
Present were Jim Minturn, legal counsel, conservator, and former Foundation Board Director; Kristi Steber, current Foundation President; Gillian Burton, Executive Director of the Foundation; and Cora Houston, personal representative of the estate of Velvet Zevely.
Zevely passed away two years ago, and after making a bequest to the Community Church, the remainder of her estate, $8,013.34, was given to the Prineville Hospital Foundation.
As Cora Houston presented the check to the Foundation, she shared her memories of the donor.
The two became fast friends when Houston moved to Prineville in 1921 at the age of 12. "I didn't know a soul," Houston recalled, " ... and I guess I just liked the way she looked."
Velvet had a twin sister Velma, and the three girls were together so much that the school principal referred to the trio as "his Siamese triplets." Velvet's mother called Cora her "third child."
Houston recalled when it became the fashion for girls to bob their long hair, the trio went to Velvet's father, who was a barber. His shop was on the north side of Eddie Lane's store, Prineville Men's Wear. Zevely saved the girls' hair by catching it in a newspaper.
Velvet also loved rodeos and used to go to them all the time. One time when the two girls went horseback riding, her cousin saddled up one horse for the both of them. They took off up a hill, and the poor horse puffed and panted so much they dismounted and walked the rest of the way.
Minturn recalled that he first became acquainted with Zevely when she asked him to figure out what was wrong with her oven, she had lived for two years thinking it was broken. After investigating the problem, he discovered it was simply a matter of plugging it into the outlet to make it work.
Minturn added that he found pleasure in helping Zevely with her affairs. "She was a meek, trusting soul," he added.
"Yes," concurred Houston, "She didn't want to do anything that might get her name in the paper, although this is for a good cause."
Zevely lived a quiet life, caring for her parents in their old age and working at the J.C. Penney store. She lived her entire life in Prineville.
With the exception of the last few years spent in adult foster care, she lived in the same house where her parents had married and where she had been born.
She was a strong supporter of the hospital.
"This gift will help us with much needed capital expenditures," acknowledged Burton.