Remembering Eula Hoover
Today, December 17, we celebrate the birthday of Eula Hoover, a founding member of the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA, the former name of the Autoimmune Association). Eula was the first staff member when I founded the organization in 1991 and continued to work for AARDA until she retired in 2020 at 90 years old. It is with deep sorrow that I let our readers know of the passing of Eula last month.
In addition to serving as the Executive Assistant, Eula was the editor of the organization’s newsletter, InFocus, from the first edition in 1992 until 2020. She had the rare ability to translate scientific information into easily understandable articles. The former chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, Dr. Noel Rose, often commented how he was amazed at her ability to do this. She loved to add quotes that she thought were meaningful to patients and their families.
She had been an English teacher, and we were all subject to her red pen which caught any grammatical mistakes as she edited our written documents and materials. She was well into her seventies when computers arrived, and she did her best to adapt, starting with floppy disks and moving to hard disks, which she never quit using. The idea of storing a file in the cloud made her chuckle.
I have many fond memories of Eula, especially one in particular when she arrived at work on time after a 15-inch overnight snowfall because she had promised the printer that she would have InFocus ready for printing that day. There were no snow days for Eula even though she was in her 70s. I had to laugh when I heard her fussing to herself when she found out the printer was closed for the day.
Eula was a major contributor to the association’s growth and success. In the early days, Eula and I humbly stood in front of the local Kmart holding a canister, collecting donations to fund the launching of the association. Raising funds was exceedingly difficult at that time because no one was familiar with the term autoimmune, and most did not even recognize that a condition they or a family member had may have been an autoimmune disease. She also found pro-bono office space during those beginning years when funds were very limited.
One could always depend on her, and many appreciated her wisdom. The staff always enjoyed her wry humor. She had a real touch for understanding and listening to patients who called the association in a state of emotional anxiety over their condition or their frustration in trying to get a diagnosis. She always took the time needed with such calls no matter how busy and deadlines she was up against.
She was often the go-to person that staff members depended on when they had some issue going on in their lives. They knew she would listen and then calmly say “it is what it is” after offering some suggestion, proving that sometimes we just need somebody to listen, and she was a good listener.
AARDA staff enjoyed taking our lunch time together and we all became familiar with each other’s families and their happenings. Eula was devoted to her family and loved them dearly. One day, sitting around the lunch table, I observed that we had one staff member from every decade from in their 20s to in their 80s, which gave us all a diversity of perspectives to consider. Eula always had the healthiest lunch as she was well-versed in healthy foods and ahead of her time in the importance of good nutrition, which she would often mention in InFocus.
I greatly admired her loyalty and wisdom. She was one of backbones of the organization, especially in the early years. She was beloved by the board, the staff and me. It was a pleasure knowing her and working with her for over 30 years.
Thank you for your service, Eula. Rest in Peace.
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