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My sister Kay passed away during the night from lung cancer. Just a month ago, as I sat at her bedside, she told me in that big sister tone, “I’m going to beat this thing.” As a nurse and teacher, she was my lifelong career mentor. I mourn her passing in the most gut-level way.

She is memorialized on the hallway murals of the new addition of Spectrum Blodgett in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1958, at what was then Blodgett Memorial Hospital, Kay helped open the first intensive care unit in the country. The photo below shows her poised over the desk, wearing our Blodgett cap with the wide black velvet stripe.

As would be the status of nurses at the time, the doctors’ names only are given on the mural.

The photo is by the Courtesy of the Grand Rapids Press.

Kay graduated from the Blodgett Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in 1955; I followed in 1962. She was my “smart nurse sister” role model as I plodded after in earning advanced degrees and later in teaching nursing. She held lengthy faculty positions at the Medical College of Ohio both before and after serving as the Dean of  the College of Nursing at Seattle University.

I pray God’s blessings on her husband, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Kay emulated a genuine spirit of selfless giving in her years as mom, nurse, teacher, friend…

and sister, especially in a unique way to me, her baby sis, who followed in her career footsteps.

Psa. 121 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help…


October 8, 8am.  An added note. Thank you to the over 150 people who have visited this page since I posted this tribute to my sister. Thank you also for your personal notes of comfort per email and Facebook. I am gratified that, along with her children, I will be taking part in the eulogy during her services on Saturday in Toledo, Ohio.