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Gary D. Hales, PhD, founding editor of Computers in Nursing, died in Birmingham, Alabama on May 14, 1995. He had been ill with a malignant brain tumor for more than a year. He died with family and friends nearby; those who were not geographically close were with him in spirit. As a tribute to Gary, I want to share with readers of Computers in Nursing some memories from a few of Gary's many friends.

Gary D. Hales, PhD D... - Click to enlarge in new windowGary D. Hales, PhD December 1994

Gary, you have given a great deal to this journal-from a vision to reality. They say that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% sweat. We in nursing owe you a tremendous debt[horizontal ellipsis]the journal gave me my first chance to appear in print! What a wonderful feeling that was and what confidence it gave me[horizontal ellipsis]You leave nursing better than you found it, an accomplishment of which to be proud. And for people like me, you leave us a little more confident that we are on the right track, which encourages us to keep moving forward. You will always remain a pioneer with vision-and a person that I am lucky to have had as a support person. You will live on and so will your work.-Linda Q. Thede


Gary, if we could have one Bop-til-you-Drop party together, all of the nursing informatics community would celebrate one more time the way in which your vision and hard work ensured that Computers in Nursing would become one of the first, and certainly one of the best, health informatics journals! Thanks for all you've done.-Patti Brennan


Gary called me about a month before his death. It was difficult to understand his thick and often garbled speech. He talked of his frustration in being hung up on three times trying to call a restaurant for dinner reservations. At the end of the call, we discussed our 10-year relationship as Lippincott editors. He expressed relief that he was no longer editor of Computers in Nursing because now he'd have time for what he really wanted, the editorship of Hustler! Gary left me laughing, loving him, and crying.-Suzanne Smith Blancett


Gary had a stuffed animal who would always travel with him, a rabbit named Ralph. Ralph accompanied Gary to the International Academy of Nursing Editors meeting in the summer of 1990. At the time, I had been the Publisher of the nursing journal program for only a few months and still felt very new to the job. One night during the conference, I gathered the Lippincott journal editors for dinner and a discussion of peer review policies, standardization of author guidelines, and other solemn topics. After a short time, Ralph appeared in front of Gary's plate. When the rabbit began speaking on behalf of Computers in Nursing, it began to dawn on me just how diverse and challenging my new position would be.-Lisa Marshall


My memories of Gary date back to the early '80s when I attended the first Computers in Nursing Conference in Austin, Texas. He had just begun the "blue newsletter" and I believe he was one of the organizers of the conference. He delivered his talk in the voice of "Reverend Byte" or some such foolish name, in the style of an evangelical tent preacher, beseeching us all to recognize the power of the computer, now and forever. On that day he was charming, funny, and completely persuasive, characteristics that we all came to recognize as uniquely his. Gary continued to evangelize for nursing's effective use of computers and for us all to take an active role in the movement for the rest of his life. It is hard to imagine where nursing would be now, without that persuasive influence that he wielded so effectively.-Linda Lange


During the past year, there have been many recognitions of the contributions that Gary made to nursing and nursing informatics. He recently was presented with the NLN council on Nursing Informatics Award. The second edition of Nursing Informatics: Where Caring and Technology Meet, which I have coedited with Marion Ball, Kathryn Hannah, and Judith Douglas, is dedicated to Gary because of his contributions to the discipline. The neat thing is that we were able to tell him about the dedication before he died and he was very pleased that his impact was recognized. Finally, at the Rutgers Informatics Conference in April, the organizers asked me to say a few words. After a brief introduction, I asked for a moment of silence. Although most of the 200 present knew who Gary was, it was apparent that not all knew he was sick. Gary knew and approved that I was telling people of his illness. When I asked him for a few words of wisdom to pass on to his friends, he told me to tell them, "Eat vegetables."-Susan Newbold


Working with Gary Hales I came to expect the unexpected: like the time I first met him and learned that he, a non-nurse, would edit a nursing newsletter (and later journal); or the time he invited me to an editorial board meeting at which I found only him and Ralph, his stuffed rabbit; or the time he submitted a journal editorial in which he drew a connection between computers in nursing and nuclear war; or the time he included a photograph with an editorial in which he wore a fake nose, mustache, and glasses. Through it all I came to know Gary as a dedicated professional and caring friend. He could be counted on to bring excellence to his endeavors while bringing smiles to the faces of all he came into contact with. I will miss him. -JW Lippincott, III

Ralph, December 1994... - Click to enlarge in new windowRalph, December 1994

Gary was a warm, and sensitive person committed to his work with the journal and the editorial board. He was responsible for allowing the Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, to share via the journal the proceedings of four national conferences on Computer Technology in Nursing (May/June 1984; March/April 1985; May/June 1987; May/June 1990). Gary consistently sought out suggestions and ideas from nurses so that information about this expanding field of informatics could be shared and understood. His work in pioneering the creation of a medium for dialogue is the legacy he leaves with us. Our ability to share and communicate information with our colleagues through our journal is the debt we owe him.-Carol A. Romano


Gary was an inspiration and a good friend. He always encouraged me to reach out and remain on the cutting edge of technology. He was a kind and unselfish human being always available for anyone who was in need of friendship. When he was a houseguest several years ago, he was the one who said, "Let's go jogging, I need the exercise," even though I could see he was hurting. He pushed himself harder than anyone I know. I will truly miss the "rabbit."-Dorothy Fishman


When I think of Gary, I remember cellular phones, Bop-til-you-Drop, and of course, a pioneer for informatics. But most of all I remember that great bear hug at Linda Edmunds' house on Christmas Day, 1994, when he said, "Take care, my friend," and I said the same, "Take care, my friend."-Roy Simpson