The invention of the rail brought opportunity to America, and to the life of Ogden, Utah native Lawrence (Laurie) Taylor Dee, it also brought a sweetheart. In 1914, while returning to Utah on a train from the east coast where he had completed a bachelor of arts at Cornell University, the 23-year-old met Colorado native Janet Sears Teller. One year later they married, making Ogden their home.
The Dees loved Ogden and its people and together they contributed time and resources to support the community’s growth and prosperity: Janet with a sense of volunteerism that built and transformed local organizations and Laurie through civic service and a successful career with Utah Canning Co. He joined his mother and sisters in founding the community’s first non-profit hospital: the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital, which had its own on-site nursing school. Known today as McKay-Dee Hospital Center, the institution in 2010 celebrated 100 years of healing.
In 1971 Janet and Laurie established the Lawrence T. and Janet T. Dee Foundation to further the couple’s charitable activities in Ogden and the surrounding area. After 61 years of marriage, Janet died in 1976 followed by Laurie just one year later. Today their legacy of giving is being carried forward by a board of directors comprised of the couple’s grandsons Thomas (Tim) and David, and their great-grandchildren. Tim, who has served on the College of Nursing’s Development Board since 1995, says the foundation’s support of nursing advances the
commitment his grandparents made to education and health care during their lifetimes.
By Katie Schrier
College of Nursing