Chris Combs’ entire life was about caring for people. Along the way, she became a nurse who left an indelible mark on those whose lives she touched.
Their number includes the colleagues she left behind at St. Luke Hospital, who established a scholarship as part of her legacy after her recent death.
Combs, who became a nurse in 1972, spent many years with St. Luke. Her career at St. Luke spanned from 2005 to Dec. 26, 2016.
The example she set was a light for other staff members.
“Chris was a dedicated nurse,” Cheryl Connell said. “She’d worked for St. Luke for a long, long time. We wanted her memory to carry on.”
Connell said Combs was someone her workers as well as her patients could count on, no matter what the situation.
“Chris always was calm in the face of what we see,” Connell said. “If there was a crisis, she faced it with calmness, confidence, and caring.”
Sharon James said Combs was the most humble person she’s ever known, never seeking attention for helping anyone.
“She just gave what was needed and kept her head down,” James said. “Her whole life wasn’t nursing. It was caring for people, and out of that she became a nurse. If nursing weren’t an option as a profession, she still would have done all the great things she did, like helping friends and neighbors. Her job was a nurse, and she did a good job of it, but she was caring for people all of her life.”
Nobody had to ask Combs for help, James said. When she saw people who needed help, she simply gave it.
“She just made people’s lives easier,” James said.
Sending flowers, or sending cards, didn’t hit the mark with Combs’ colleagues.
“Chris was so much more than, ‘I’m sorry for your loss,’” James said.
They decided a scholarship to help county residents study nursing would be a fitting way to continue Combs’ legacy of helping. They especially want scholarship awards to go to students in financial need.
“Several of us decided we wanted to do something keeping her name out there and letting her know we honored her,” Connell said.
The group wants the first scholarship to be awarded this year, so notices are being sent to high schools in the county.
People wanting to donate toward the scholarship fund can send a check made out to St. Luke Foundation, earmarked for the Chris Combs Scholarship Fund, to foundation director Roger Schroeder.
“Chris didn’t live a high-profile life, but if you saw the inside of her life, if you look at her life and the way she lived it, and the way people loved her, it was a very envied life,” James said.