Class Notes, Honors & In Memoriam (from Forefront)

HEC West Side

Class Notes, Honors & In Memoriam

These items appeared in the Winter 2023 issue of Forefront Magazine.

Class Notes

Submissions received between May 24 and Nov. 28, 2023.

Rob Davis, DNP, RN (NUR ’97, ’05, ’08), was inducted as a fellow at the Academy of Wilderness Medicine at the academy’s conference in July in Spokane, Washington.

Jerry Hannibal, RN (NUR ’78), received a merit scholarship award to study Appalachian-style fiddle at the Cleveland Music School Settlement.

Christine A. Hudak, PhD, RN (NUR ’74), professor of health informatics at Kent State University School of Library and Information Science, was elected president of the Northern Ohio Chapter of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

Honored Among Their Peers

The American Academy of Nursing recognized several School of Nursing faculty and alumni last fall through induction, elections and awards. Take a look at who was included.

  • Ron Hickman Jr., PhD, RN (CWR ’00; NUR ’02, ’06, ’13; GRS ’08, nursing), the Ruth M. Anderson Professor and associate dean for research | Board Member
  • John Gallagher, DNP, RN, professor | Faculty Fellowship
  • Barbara Nichols, RN (NUR ’66) | Lifetime Legacy Award
  • Adey M. Nyamathi, PhD (GRS ’83, nursing) | 2023 Living Legend
  • Inducted alumni
  • Anna Cerra, DNP (NUR ’05, ’06)
  • Carl Kirton, DNP (NUR ’09)
  • Anne Pohnert, DNP, RN (NUR ’23)
  • Eric Staples, ND, RN (NUR ’05)
  • Kathy Wright, PhD (NUR ’91)

In Memoriam

Death notices received between May 24 and Nov. 30, 2023.

Elizabeth M. Gillespie (NUR ’50) of Vancouver, Washington, died March 3. In addition to working in nursing, Gillespie taught at University of Michigan before taking time away from her career to raise her children. She later worked at Bess Kaiser Hospital in Portland, Oregon, before retiring in 1991.

Madelon Johnson Curtis (NUR ’52) of Cleveland died Nov. 29. After graduating from Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Curtis went on to earn a master’s in education from Kent State University and eventually became certified in gerontology by the American Nurses Association. Over her 50-year career, Curtis worked in healthcare institutions throughout the Cleveland area in nursing leadership, administration, education, nursing home staff development, quality assurance and utilization review. Additionally, she served her community through charitable organizations and as an election poll worker.

Angeline M. Durso (NUR ’56, LYS ’67) of San Francisco died March 20 in Pacific Grove, California. Durso taught nursing and science at St. John College in Cleveland before becoming the head of the Life Sciences Library at University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. In the early 1970s, she was part of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Pacific Southwest Region at University of California at Los Angeles, where she worked as part of the team that developed the online medical search system known today as PubMed. Durso finished her career as the head of the Children’s Hospital library in San Francisco before retiring in 1987.

Harriet J. Shainoff Hritz (NUR ’59) of Strongsville, Ohio, died June 19. Throughout her career of more than 30 years, Hritz was a registered nurse and public health administrator.

Ruby Leila Wilson (NUR ’59) of Durham, North Carolina, died July 31. Wilson was a night clinical supervisor at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh before joining the faculty at Duke University School of Nursing, where she also earned her Doctor of Education. While at Duke, Wilson greatly expanded the nursing school’s programming by helping to develop the advanced medical-surgical nursing course, the Master in Science of Nursing program, the Primary Nursing Program, the first Clinical Nurse Specialist position at Duke Medical Center and a nuclear warfare preparedness program that still serves as the basis for many hospitals’ mass casualty drills today. She also was instrumental in opening admissions for Duke’s Physician Assistant Program to women. Wilson served as a nursing curriculum consultant to the Rockefeller Foundation, Mahidol University in Bangkok, and several universities and hospitals throughout the world. After many years of consulting, she returned to Duke, where she was dean of the School of Nursing until 1984; she continued to work there for 57 years.

Marianne Dight Aitken (NUR ’62) of Dallas, died May 22. 

Nancy A. Gorenshek (NUR ’65, ’69) of Coconut Creek, Florida, died Nov. 22. She worked as a nurse at several hospitals in the Cleveland area, including University Hospitals, from which she eventually retired.

Janet Dombrosky Sternfeld (NUR ’71) of Sylvania, Ohio, died April 26. Sternfeld was an emergency room nurse and worked in clinical research and cardiology. She was a member of Sigma Theta Tau, an international honor society for nursing, and volunteered her time with local service organizations including the Red Cross and the Medical Reserve Corps. Sternfeld served on multiple boards such as the Alliance Française de Toledo, the Lucas County Medical Alliance and Mobile Meals of Toledo, where she delivered meals for 30 years.

Lucille A. Adelmann (NUR ’76) died in Joliet, Illinois, March 26. She was a Joliet Franciscan nun for nearly 75 years. Adelmann taught for 20 years before becoming director of nursing and, eventually, director of pastoral care at Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home in Joliet. She continued to volunteer as an educator and as an operator at the Crisis Line of Will County in Illinois.

Barbara Manuel DeVore (NUR ’77) died July 28 in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania.

Amy B. Chinchar (WRC ’77, NUR ’80) died May 14 in Eastlake, Ohio.

Theresa Loeffler Decker (NUR ’81) died March 25 in Mechanicsville, Virginia. During her career as a nurse, Decker worked in wound care and became a certified wound, ostomy and continence nurse at the Cleveland Clinic. She was an active member of the central Virginia affiliate of the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society, of which she also served as president. Decker recently retired from Home Care Delivered, where she was the director of clinical excellence.

Margret Mary Yarmesch (NUR ’82) of Lancaster, Ohio, died Feb. 15. Yarmesch spent more than 30 years as a registered nurse and gerontological clinical specialist at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She was a member of the international honor society for nursing, Sigma Theta Tau, and volunteered at Fairfield Medical Center.

Gretchen Anne Norman (NUR ’91) of Milford, Ohio, died Sept. 18. Throughout her 47-year career, Norman worked as a nurse at University Hospitals and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland and at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Kentucky. She also worked as a traveling nurse anesthetist in Columbus, Ohio, and Danbury, Connecticut. She was a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society for nursing.

Joan Dorothy Howe Palisin (NUR ’92) of Avon Lake, Ohio, died Feb. 25. Palisin began her nursing career with the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) in 1961 and was the choir director at Struthers United Presbyterian Church while studying music at the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University. Palisin later moved to Rocky River, continuing her work for the VNA while earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Case Western Reserve.