Students majoring in the medical field can breathe a little easier when thinking about how to pay for college tuition with the new Scott Memorial Hospital Guild Brunton-Mumford Scholarship established at the Scott County Community Foundation.
Thanks to the friendship of local couples, community organizations working for a better Scott County recently received a significant financial assist from the estate of Martha Jane Brunton Fleener, daughter of Mabelle and W.I. Brunton.
Former Scott Memorial Hospital Administrator Ken Mumford and his wife, Mildred, long time friends of the Brunton family, helped guide decisions concerning the generous estate donations.
“We were an adopted family of W.I. and Mabelle Brunton,” said Ken Mumford. “We would pick them up or take them to the airport when they came to town, and they would spend Christmas at our house. We also looked after Maebelle after W.I. died.”
The same friendship developed with the Brunton’s daughter, Martha Jane Brunton Fleener.
“Once we went to the airport to pick up Martha Jane and it just clicked,” said Mildred. “We were instant friends.”
The Scott Memorial Hospital Guild was one of the recipients of money from the estate, with money directed toward scholarships for students in the medical field.
W.I. Brunton has a noteworthy history with Scott County and Indiana. He and Maebelle purchased W L Hubbard Lumber and Hardware in 1946. It wasn’t sold until 1982, after he had passed away. Brunton was a World War I veteran, and a member of numerous service and fraternal organization in Scottsburg and across the state. He was chairman of the Scott Memorial Hospital Foundation and instrumental in opening the hospital in 1959. Brunton was also a strong figure in the local Democratic Party and thus became close friends with many governors and members of the legislature, including Lee Hamilton. He also held the Commander for the American Legion on both local and state levels. Yet, he was a person easily reached.
“W.I. went to Hancock’s Drug store every morning to talk with his friends in the coffee group,” said Mumford. “Then in the afternoon, he would go back for a milk shake.”
His daughter, Martha Jane Brunton, left Scott County to travel the world after graduating from Scottsburg High School and Indiana University. She was the executive secretary to the last two presidents of Studebaker, and then married Lon Fleener, who was president of Mercedes Benz/Fiat of New Jersey. They eventually moved to Newport Beach in California.
“Martha Jane was always fully aware of what was going on at the hospital and in Scott County,” said Mildred Mumford. “We kept her informed.”
Like Brunton, Ken Mumford also has a history in hospital development. He built Carrollton Hospital in 1952 and was administrator there until 1967. Mumford and his wife then moved to Scottsburg where he was administrator of Scott Memorial Hospital from 1967 until 1977. Mumford left Scott Memorial to work for the Indiana Hospital Association.
“When I went to the IHA, we could have lived anywhere in the state, but we stayed here because of friends in town and at church,” said Mumford. “I was very happy with the hospital job and the board. It is good to see the estate give back to the community so everyone could benefit.”
It was the friendship between the families that helped Martha Jane Brunton Fleener when she was deciding where to donate money from the estate. She asked for suggestions from the Mumford family.
“Through our relationship, she knew of my association with the hospital, so it was understood the hospital would be one of the recipients,” Mumford said. “She wanted to give back to the community in memory of her parents.”
Lorraine Gable was Guild President when news of the estate was made public. “I think it is fantastic that they thought of giving the money to the Guild,” said Gable. “The money will be greatly appreciated for many years. The money helps us increase the scholarships and will be helpful to the many students and hospital staff who are going to school for medical careers.”
“We greatly appreciate the generosity of the Fleener estate and the Mumford family for helping making this a reality,” said current Guild President Bettie Fields.
The scholarships are currently worth $1,000 each and may be renewable up to four years. As current Guild scholarship recipients finish their schooling, new scholarships will be available for graduates of Austin and Scottsburg high schools, as well as employees of Scott Memorial Hospital.