Florida State University nursing graduate Lucy Campbell Council (’65) had a passion for helping others—whether it was volunteering as a student mentor for the Bay Education Foundation in Panama City, Fla., or being her family’s go-to person for navigating the health care system. She is remembered for her caring and supportive demeanor and her ability to see potential in others. To no surprise, one of her final wishes was to leave a legacy of caring for others by establishing an endowed scholarship for FSU nursing students.
While at Florida State, Lucy married Maurice (Bubba) Council, Jr., a criminology student at the time. Together they welcomed a daughter, Michelle, who mostly grew up in student housing on the Florida State campus. Upon graduation, the Councils moved to Bennettsville, S.C., where Lucy began her nursing career and Maurice worked as a federal agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
The Councils would eventually move to different locations in Florida, Illinois and South Carolina, but no matter where they lived, Lucy left her mark on her community. She started the first local blood bank in Gulf Breeze, Fla.; a women’s self-protection class with the Escambia County Sherriff Department; a lithotripsy treatment program at Lutheran General outside of Chicago; and the first infertility treatment center at Nessett Health Care System near Chicago.
Lucy held various nursing and administrative positions throughout the years before retiring to her hometown of Panama City in the 1990s. Retirement didn’t stop her, though, as she continued to be active in different advisory boards for local health care companies. Even while attending her own doctor appointments, she would offer friendly tips on how to improve the office—“she was an administrator until the end,” says her daughter.
Years before Lucy became ill, she talked about how she wanted to establish an endowed fund with the FSU College of Nursing. When her health began to decline in January 2015, she sat with her daughter Michelle to discuss how she wanted to be remembered in her obituary, with much of the focus being on her dedicated career in the nursing field. While Michelle typed the obituary, her wife Regina Roat, also a Florida State graduate, finalized the details of the FSU nursing scholarship.
“I just shut the laptop when Regina walked in to say that the scholarship was set up,” Michelle said. “Within an hour my mom passed away. It was just like my mom—she waited and was being an administrator saying, ‘Get this done, Michelle.’ You can call it divine or a coincidence.”
Although Lucy lived in many different cities, Panama City was always considered home. Helping individuals from this area was important to her, so much that the Lucy Campbell Council Endowed Scholarship in Nursing supports FSU College of Nursing students from Bay County who have demonstrated financial need.
“She always kept in touch with the College of Nursing,” Michelle said. “She always wanted to know what was going on. It was always a constant interest for her. Florida State was always near and dear to her heart, as much as my father’s. It was incredibly important for her to establish the scholarship and that’s how she wanted to leave her legacy.”
Lucy lived by the notion that nurses should never lose sight of the patient—something Michelle hopes that the scholarship recipients will remember as they continue her mother’s legacy.
“She had a passion for paying attention to patient needs. Sometimes health care providers don’t listen and just do what they need to do,” Michelle explained. “Never lose sight of the patient that you’re treating. You’re not just treating the patient, you’re treating their family as well. It’s not just about books and science—it’s about listening and being compassionate. That’s just as important as being at the top of your class.”