DAYTON, Ohio – It was fitting that this retired Beavercreek nurse made her milestone 100th lifetime blood donation on the first day of spring, Wednesday, March 20. Her name is Barbara Lilly, so her donation carried with it the image of a budding spring flower on a breezy day that winter seemed unwilling to let go.
“Even if it is cold outside!” shrugged Barbara as she talked about her name while making her 100th donation. Names matter to this student of genealogy. “I’m Scotch, Welsh, Irish and some German on my mother’s side,” she said.
Tracing her family tree has been a passion for Barbara and her husband, especially since she retired from nursing in 1997. Unlike many genealogists, she doesn’t track her ancestors through cyberspace. “I love genealogy,” she said. “I don’t have a computer so I do it by mail.” She prefers to do her research by examining records, subscribing to genealogy services and data banks, and occasionally following up leads by writing directly to families for information.
Barbara and her husband haven’t gotten around to attending the annual Lilly Family Reunion in Flat Top, West Virginia, heralded by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world largest. But she knows her roots. “There’s a big family tree sheet with every Lilly mentioned. It’s huge!” she said. “Even Eli Lilly (of Eli Lilly & Company pharmaceutical fame) is on that, so I’m related to him.”
Barbara has contributed to the family tree with two children of her own, but her compassion for the miracle of birth and the promise of new generations goes far beyond the Lilly name. She spent her entire career as a postpartum nurse, a role she calls “the best part” of nursing.
Her history as a blood donor dates back to 1964, when she was working in the Dayton practice of Dr. Shulman. “He was our family doctor,” he said. “He died. He had leukemia.” She began donating whole blood as a show of support. She moved on to Kettering Medical Center, working in maternity, and retired after 33 years.
Where there is a lily, there is the promise of spring. And where there is a Lilly at CBC, there is the promise of the gift of life. Many thanks to Barbara Lilly.