Johnnie Carl Eli, Jr. and Ruth Melnechuk Eli were newlyweds in 1953 when they began discussing John’s dream of becoming a dentist. As the child of a single mother from Houston, Texas (John) and a large Alberta farming family (Ruth), both knew they would have to work hard and borrow money to make their dream reality. Ruth worked as an operating room nurse while John attended college. He was accepted to Loma Linda School of Dentistry in 1956 after only two years of intensive pre-requisite study. Their daughter Jenell was born just before John entered dental school.
In spite of careful budgeting and Ruth’s income, many times during their four years in dental school, there simply wasn’t enough money for food or basic necessities. Through the kindness of others -- groceries left on the doorstep, used clothing, and unexpected cash in the mail -- John was able to continue his education. He graduated from dental school in 1960, the same year their son Bradley was born.
John and Ruth modeled lives of giving, both with their talents and their financial resources. Their kindness and attention to the needs of others have left a family legacy of generosity and gratitude to God. This fund was established by their daughter and her husband, Jenell & Joe Hollett, in memory of John who died in 1990 and in honor of Ruth who still leads an active life in California.