In Memoriam, 2023 Fall

  • Vivian Piasecki on July 10, 2023

Vivian was a devoted member of Penn Nursing’s Board of Advisors for over 20 years and helped raise it to prominence through her leadership as Chair from 1991 to 1999. She also co-Chaired Penn Nursing’s Dean’s Council, served on the Penn Nursing Campaign Committee, and led Friends of Penn Nursing in its efforts to raise scholarship funds for future nurses. In gratitude for her many years of service and advocacy, Penn Nursing gave Vivian its Honorary Alumni Award in 1999. The Vivian Weyerhaeuser Piasecki Room at Claire M. Fagin Hall was dedicated in her name in 2019, connecting current students to her rich support of Penn Nursing. Even beyond her dedication to Penn Nursing, she was a committed health care advocate. She served on several Penn Medicine boards, including as a longtime Trustee of the Health System and as a member of the Advisory Board for the Institute on Aging. Vivian’s support of Penn Medicine and Penn Nursing led to her commitment to a wide range of priorities and projects, including providing support for Penn Medicine, but also for faculty support, lectures, and research. Vivian was predeceased by her husband—Frank Piasecki, ME’40—in 2008; Frank was a Penn alumnus, helicopter industry pioneer, and National Medal of Technology winner. Vivian and Frank’s philanthropy touched every corner of Penn Nursing, from annual giving and the Dean’s Fund to capital improvements and facility renovations. Their generosity helped create endowed professorships as well as academic scholarships for students at Penn Nursing.

  • Esther Colliflower, HUP’46, on February 22, 2022

  • Betty Jane Haddock Weikel, HUP’46, on March 23, 2021

Betty was in nurses’ training during WWII and was in the Nurse Cadet program. She was honored to be a nursing student at the “U of P” (University of Pennsylvania). She valued the excellent education she received there and cherished the many lifelong friendships made with her fellow nursing students. Among her keepsakes were her HUP pin and nurse’s cap. Betty was an experienced operating room nurse throughout her career.

  • Dorothy Turner, HUP’48, on April 22, 2023

  • Dolores Akin, HUP’50, on February 14, 2023

  • Virginia Peterson, HUP’52, on January 5, 2023

  • Alma Peterson, HUP’53, Nu’59, on June 4, 2022

Alma attended the School of Nursing at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania—where she was known by all as “Sparky”— receiving her RN in 1953 and her BSN in 1959. While a nursing student, she met and fell in love with Penn medical student David M. Peterson; they would marry in 1959.

  • Elsa Spiegel, HUP’54, Nu’54, on February 18, 2023

  • Marie Heinz, HUP’55, on February 9, 2023

  • Joann Majetich, HUP’55, on May 7, 2023

  • Dorothy Swope, Nu’55, on February 5, 2022

Dorothy graduated with her BS in Nursing from Penn in 1955. She worked in various nursing roles with Lancaster School District. Within that period, she earned a M.Ed. from Millersville University in 1971 and made many friends working as a counselor and while teaching ESL at the IU13 Adult Enrichment Center. A life-long learner, she was taking PhD classes at Temple University in her fifties.

  • Glora Diehl Farbstein, Nu’56, on May 11, 2023

Gloria was the first person in her family to graduate from high school; she attended a one-room schoolhouse. Her older brothers, Charles and George nicknamed her “Nursie” because she was fervently protective of her younger brother Alvin. Gloria lived up to her nickname, earning her BSN from the University of Pennsylvania in 1956. Following her graduation she dedicated her career to children, serving as a Public Health Nurse at various schools throughout Fairfax County. After 25 years in public health, Gloria retired at the age of 70, devoting herself full-time to gardening, baking, and travel.

  • Alice Thomas, HUP’56, on February 24, 2023

  • Jean Monka, HUP’57, on February 26, 2023

  • Elaine Kemmerer, HUP’57, on March 15, 2023

  • Ann Bliss, Nu’60, on December 7, 2022

Ann was instrumental in the formation and early success of the Yale Physician Associate Program. She earned her BS from the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. She worked as a medical writer for McNeil International Pharmaceuticals from 1960 to 1961, received a master’s in social work from Bryn Mawr College in 1963, and served as a Professor of Mental Health Nursing while at SUNY Buffalo and at Niagara University, 1963-1970. In 1970 she joined the faculty at the Yale School of Medicine, at the inception of the PA Program. Ann served on the Yale faculty from 1970 to 1996, teaching behavioral medicine and psychopathology for 25 years, fostering students’ development and providing mentorship and support that many alumni recall with fondness.

  • D’Etta Tracy, Nu’61, on April 1, 2023

  • Winnifred Gillette, Nu’61, on April 19, 2023

  • Gail Zapp, HUP’64, on April 1, 2023

  • Laura Griffin, Nu’69, on March 29, 2023

  • Kathryn Matthews, GNu’76, on April 17, 2023

In high school Kathryn aspired to become a medical missionary and volunteered as a “candy striper,” providing care to residents of the county nursing home. Her work there and the guidance of a school nurse inspired Kathy to pursue a career in nursing. With a Navy Nurse Corps scholarship, Kathy earned a BSN from Keuka College in 1968 and served in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps until 1973. After completing her military service, she completed the Family Nurse Practitioner master’s program at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Rosalie Mirenda, GNu’79, on May 13, 2023

  • Mary Moore, GNu’79, GRN’87, on January 4, 2023

  • Jeanne Gelman, GNu’80, on January 12, 2023

  • Mary Folkerth, GNu’82, on March 22, 2023

After high school Mary earned a BSN from Villanova University and then graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with her master’s degree. She had a love for nursing and a love for teaching and spent much of her career in higher education. She began her teaching career at Temple University and accepted a position as an Associate Professor of Nursing at Indiana University East, where she spent nearly 30 years inspiring and equipping the next generation of nurses with the skills, compassion, and competency to take care of their patients.

  • Dennis Farrell, GNu’88, on March 22, 2023

  • Nicole Price, Nu’02, on February 26, 2023

Nicole was an exceptional student at Philadelphia High School for Girls and earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002. Nicole worked at first at the University of California Los Angeles Mattel Children’s Hospital. She returned to Philadelphia after she met Fisher, became a nurse and then nurse manager at CHOP, and served most recently in the hospital’s pulmonary unit. Caring for her patients seemed more like a calling than a job for Nicole. Creative, friendly, and talkative once she got to know you, she focused on people’s emotional health as well as the medicine they took. She sought young people in distress, especially those like her who struggled with sickle cell anemia, and showed them how to plan for a fulfilling future.

Penn Nursing Magazine, Fall 2023 Issue