Generous donor leaves amazing $100,000 bequest

“When you love someone you do what has to be done,” said Grant Harland, partner of the late Rita West.

A couple since 1985, Rita and Grant were devoted to each other with Grant being the Number 1 caregiver when Rita was ill, until she passed away in 2013.

“She was generous with people and she lived a frugal lifestyle,” said Grant, “never extravagant.” “She did maintain a sense of dignity right to the end,” said Grant. “She also maintained her sense of humour.”

Rita West was impressed with the care with the care given at the Almonte General Hospital and had a soft spot in her heart for Dr. Heather Abramenko who provided her with excellent care. Rita left a gift of $100,000 in her will to the Almonte General Hospital.

“Rita West was an amazing woman and was very thoughtful to leave such a large gift in her will,” said Gerry Huddleston, Executive Director of the Almonte General Hospital – Fairview Manor Foundation. “I had the opportunity to meet with Rita and Grant on two occasions and she was a kind, gentle woman interested in the health and well-being of the people in our community.”
Rita’s family moved to Montreal when she was five years old after living in Russia and Western Europe. She lived in Cape Breton and became a librarian after studying at Dalhousie University. She had one son, Nicholas.

In 1982 Rita began working at the National Library of Canada where she first met Grant Harland. Rita and Grant became a couple in 1985. Rita retired in 1997.

Rita owned a home in Ottawa, but “loved coming out to the country” when visiting Grant’s home in Clayton. She was also an avid gardener. 

Rita had many friends and was a very good listener. She was a very close friend to many people, said Grant. She was artistic and had written many short stories which were published. She painted water colours and did drawings.

When her health became an issue Rita did dialysis treatments in Ottawa three times a week for three years. Her final six months were spent in Clayton.

Rita’s gift of $100,000 will be directed towards a top patient care priority at Almonte General Hospital as her generosity continues.