A Tale of Two Sisters

Family's Legacy Lives On

Jeanette Bendula and her sister, Col. Hazel A. Johnson

Jeanette Bendula (left) and her sister, Col. Hazel A. Johnson (right)

Jeanette Bendula inherited a vacation home on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, from her sister, Col. Hazel A. Johnson, after she passed away in 2016. But instead of using the home for herself, she sold the property and used the proceeds to create a charitable remainder unitrust to establish a tribute gift in honor of Hazel.

The Hazel Johnson Military Nursing Scholarship will help those who have served or who are currently active military or reservists continue their education in nursing.

Jeanette, an antiques dealer and appraiser, worked in the manufacturing industry for many years. She and her sister enjoyed traveling extensively around the world together, meeting people and making lifelong friends.

After Hazel was laid to rest last year, Jeanette discovered her sister was actually a brigadier general in the Army National Guard, one rank above colonel. Yet, she says her sister wanted to be known as "Colonel" instead.

"Most importantly, Hazel was known and loved as one of the most generous and compassionate nurse educators—and friend to all the lives she touched," Jeanette says.

Hazel earned her bachelor's degree in 1967 and her master's degree in 1969 from WVU's School of Nursing. She later established three scholarships: the Hazel Anne Johnson Undergraduate Nursing Scholarship, the Hazel Anne Johnson Graduate Nursing Scholarship and the Hazel Anne Johnson Rehabilitation Counseling Scholarship. She also created the Hazel Anne Johnson Endowed Discretionary Fund for Nursing and the Michael Oliverio Rehabilitation Counseling Student Development Fund.

"It was Hazel's passion to help others, especially to ease the cost of their education," Jeanette says. "I hope this tribute gift honoring her will continue the family legacy of scholarships for future generations."

You can create an endowed scholarship at WVU, or simply support our educational mission with a gift through your estate. Please contact Matthew Clark at 304-284-4033 or plannedgiving@wvuf.org to learn more.