A Lasting Legacy to a Life Well Lived

Nancy Beals
Nancy Kimball Beals and Kimberly Beals


The only thing she was missing was the halo and the wings.”   That is how Kimberly Beals describes her Aunt Nancy, a best friend and now her guardian angel, who passed away last year at the age of 95. 

Nancy Kimball Beals had a vibrant life that was intersected with tragedy and triumph. In her early 20s, she became the first person in the US to undergo successful limb re-attachment surgery after losing both her legs in a car accident in Providence. The groundbreaking operation was performed at Rhode Island Hospital’s Jane Brown Building. After her more than seven-month inpatient stay, despite this upheaval for Nancy and her family, she returned to living her best life possible. 

Rising to every challenge with grit and determination, Nancy—who also became a 40-year breast cancer survivor—always maintained a joyful, can-do spirit. “Aunt Nancy was extremely abled bodied despite the accident,” Kim says, “and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She was an inspiration to many and was always generous with her time and encouragement to amputees or those challenged by life’s hard knocks.”

An avid golfer and champion skier, Nancy loved traveling, food, fashion, shopping, and maintaining close social ties with her many friends. She was also active in the community and charitable by nature, supporting several nonprofits, including Rhode Island Hospital.

‘Out of grace and gratitude’ 

Nancy’s father, Albert Chester Beals, founded the A.C. Beals Company in the 1930s, a respected contracting and masonry company where she worked as secretary and treasurer until retirement. Rhode Island Hospital was among A.C. Beals’ long list of clients. But for Chester, it was the exceptional, compassionate care his wife, Gladys, received at the hospital over the years for a variety of cardiopulmonary issues, coupled with the dedicated extended care his daughter received there, that inspired him to give back.

“My grandfather included the hospital as a beneficiary in the trust he established out of grace and gratitude for the care our family received,” Kim explains. “He also strongly believed that, if you were able, you should support your local hospital—because of the good it provides the community. My Aunt Nancy continued that charitable commitment for the same reasons.” 

Planned giving

Thanks to this thoughtful bequest, Rhode Island Hospital is receiving approximately $300,000. Planned gifts, which include donations like this, enable the hospital to continue its focus on excellent patient care, pioneering research, medical education, and technology. To learn more about how you can support the hospital with a planned gift, please visit us at lifespan.org/RIHLegacy or call us at (401) 444-6412.   

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