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Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul. - The Koran

FIGURE. Nancy A. Bru... - Click to enlarge in new windowFIGURE. Nancy A. Brunner

Nancy A. Brunner, the 18th President of NAON, died peacefully on December 5, 2004, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. She was 65. Nancy was preceded in death by two infant sons. She is survived by her husband Charles, two brothers, Robert and Samuel Andrew, and three nieces and nephews. Nancy was proud to be a nurse and started her education at the Chicago Wesley Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and earned two master's degrees-both in nursing and business-at The Ohio State University. She was honored by the Northwestern Memorial Hospital with the 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award.


It seems fitting to write her tribute in Orthopaedic Nursing journal, as Nancy was a member of the original Editorial Board when the journal started in 1980. Her work on that Board was just the beginning of service to NAON. She had many "firsts" in her professional life. She served on the Columbus Board of Health as a member and its first woman President. She was one of the first authors to publish a textbook and workbook for orthopaedic nurses. She was the first Project Supervisor in the Division of Education in NAON.


If you knew Nancy, certain images come to mind: big hats, a good cup of coffee (or even a bad one), reading the newspaper at the end of the day, not doing mornings, and interests in history, genealogy, and antiques. She loved flowers and enjoyed spending time gardening. In the past few years while she was so sick, she enjoyed any time she could get out and "dig in the dirt." In many ways, her life can be compared to an English garden. These gardens are often unplanned, with a variety of plants and flowers that grow wherever space permits and a profusion of climbers on trellises and walls. New flowers prosper, and nothing really overshadows other plants and flowers.


Nancy worked for 25 years in nursing administration in various hospitals in Ohio. She hired and mentored numerous professional nurses, helping them to become better managers and leaders through her example. Hers was a progressive path, and she allowed herself to keep her options open to new experiences. Her theme for Congress was "Step into the Future," as she was most interested in the future of NAON. Despite her inability to get to Congress for the past few years, she kept up with all that was going on.


Nancy helped numerous NAON members to see their capabilities. She encouraged and mentored many current and past Executive Board members, quietly encouraging them to grow and serve NAON. She was interested in leadership succession, and in her term as president, this was a "front burner" issue. As a seasoned administrator, she provided strong leadership to the organization and had the history within the organization to see the "big picture."


Chuck has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations to the NAON Foundation be made in Nancy's honor (401 North Michigan Avenue/Chicago, IL 60611).


May she rest in peace.