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Extraordinary generosity from Ginnie Abell, longtime Summa nurse

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2020 edition of Promise magazine.

Virginia “Ginnie” Abell recently made a second major gift in support of the Summa Health mission to provide the highest quality, compassionate care and contribute to a healthier community. Her generosity continues a remarkable record of support that spans 55 years, reflects her dedication to the health of the Akron region, and parallels an exceptionally dedicated career as a registered nurse. Her generous gift is recognized at nurses stations on two floors of the new patient tower where she honors her colleagues, “Past, Present and Future.”

Ginnie’s professional path affirms nursing as a calling as much as a career. She began her first job as a registered nurse in 1964, immediately after graduating from St. Thomas Hospital School of Nursing. She made her first gift when she received her first paycheck. So began decades of generous support that continued through her 10 years as a supervisor in the Emergency Department, her role in developing an Infection Control Department, and her success in acquiring national certification in infection control in 1983 after completing the first class sponsored by the Association of Professionals in Infection Control.

“My parents, James and Lois Abell, taught me the importance of giving back to the community," Ginnie said. "I honor them by giving back to Summa, the community that nurtured me throughout my 50-year career.”

In 2013, Ginnie was one of 16 nurses across the Akron region to be honored with a Cameo of Caring Award for consistently delivering clinical excellence while treating patients and their families with care, dignity and compassion. In 2015, she joined the Summa Health Circle of Women’s Health Philanthropists and is now recognized at the Patroness level for her consecutive years of membership. Circle members have awarded more than $350,000 collectively since the group was founded in 2014.

Ginnie’s retirement in July 2017 gave her more time to help in other ways, beginning with her participation on Summa Health Seniors Institute Leadership Council, a group of select individuals who serve the health system as strategic advisors, community advocates and philanthropic partners for senior health. In addition to her continuing contributions on the council and as a patroness of the Circle, Ginnie contributes to the community in many ways such as with the Kohl Family YMCA Advisory Board, as an International Institute volunteer, an Oasis tutor for Findley School first-graders and by working with several Neighborhood Network groups. 

To make a gift to Summa Health, call 330.375.3159 or visit


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