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Roberta Edrington (1916-2019)

Roberta Edrington (1916-2019)

Nearly 20 years ago Roberta Edrington sat in her Florence, Kentucky, living room listening to a newscast on a local radio station. During the broadcast the news director mentioned a fundraising event for a young Cincinnati-area patient who was waiting for a transplant. Moved by what she heard on the radio, Roberta made a life-changing decision to make a donation to help transplant families in need.

Within the next year COTA President Rick Lofgren visited Roberta in her home and heard this story firsthand. Rick visited Roberta while in town for other business to personally thank her and let her know the impact of her generosity. This was important to Roberta because it let her know her donation was doing exactly what she intended. It was at this point Roberta told Rick she wanted to continue to make a difference. This conversation was the basis for a nearly 20-year legacy of gifts that would make a life-saving difference for COTA kids.

Roberta grew up in Northern Kentucky and was the youngest of three girls. She often shared stories about walking a mile to get to the bus station (regardless of the weather) to cross the Ohio River to get to work throughout the 1940s. During her nearly 50-year career, she worked in her parents' store, for the Crosley Corporation (manufacturing), and for Hagedorn appliances. She eventually retired in 1979 from The Cincinnati Post, a local newspaper.

Roberta was married for a short time and had a baby who passed at birth during World War II, which left a difficult memory for her to carry throughout her life. Roberta never let this stop her; she continued working knowing she would be joined again someday with her baby boy.

Roberta loved gardening and was well known in her neighborhood as the lady with the straw hat tending her plants. She also loved reading, quilting and traveling when given the chance. Roberta learned to drive in her mid-30s and her love of driving allowed her to enjoy many trips and make memories with her sisters. At the age of 98, Roberta realized the "machines" as she called them were going much faster than she was comfortable with and gave up driving. At this time gardening became more difficult also so she started doing table-top gardening.

Throughout her lifetime Roberta supported many charities, but always demanded that each of these charities had to use the funds to "help people and not for general administrative costs." When she learned how COTA specifically assists transplant families, Roberta started following the stories of families receiving assistance and support from COTA. She happily continued with her annual donation for many years. On several occasions she also donated items such as her beloved quilts to be auctioned for the benefit of Cincinnati-area families' fundraising activities.

Roberta received her last paycheck in January 1979; however, she managed throughout her life to invest and remain financially able to support herself and while helping others. Roberta certainly was not one to waste hard-earned money. She always shopped for the lowest-priced groceries and reused things as she was able. These practices allowed Roberta to remain in her home into her final days. Roberta celebrated her 103rd birthday in March 2019 with friends. But sadly she had fallen ill and had to celebrate in the hospital. She passed away peacefully on April 7, 2019, but had talked many times with friends of hers who were helped care for her in her later years about her blessed life. Rick Lofgren visited with Roberta during her last month. She left an indelible mark on him and on many COTA kids she never met personally.

Roberta's generosity and giving have continued with a generous gift forthcoming from her estate.

COTA Hope Fund

In 2019 the COTA Hope Fund was created in honor of generous gifts from Roberta Edrington and many other longtime supporters. The COTA Hope Fund provides a safety net for families who are facing the financial and emotional challenges of raising a child who needs a life-saving transplant. COTA Hope Fund contributions enable:

  • COTA to serve transplant families to ensure no child is denied a second chance at life due to financial issues.
  • COTA to provide services to transplant families at no cost.

If you would like additional information about how to use your will, or other planned gift vehicles, to make a significant gift to the COTA Hope Fund, please contact Rick Lofgren at 800.366.2682.