News and Tribune

Floyd County

May 25, 2006

IUS dean of nursing dies

Lillian Yeager, 62, spent 33 years in department

By ERIC SCOTT CAMPBELL — Friends and colleagues remembered Lillian Yeager as a kind and determined woman Wednesday, one day after the IU Southeast School of Nursing’s dean died of ovarian cancer.

Yeager, 62, was diagnosed five years to the day before her death, said Brenda Hackett, an instructor and academic counselor in Yeager’s department.

“The way she handled her illness showed someone who was very strong,” Hackett said. “She lived life.”

Yeager joined the university in 1973 as an assistant professor of nursing and became dean in 2002. She brought a bachelor’s degree from Tuskegee Institute and a master’s from Wayne State University in Detroit, then earned a doctorate from Louisville’s Spalding University in 2000.

Chancellor Sandra Patterson-Randles called Yeager a great leader and “also a great friend to everyone.”

“Even though she obviously didn’t feel well, she still attended every major campus event this month simply because she didn’t want to disappoint anyone,” Patterson-Randles said.

Hackett’s office is next to Yeager’s. Hackett said “she always liked to keep up” with what was on nursing students’ minds, and Yeager knew how to keep those in her department on the same page.

“She was kind of a mild-mannered person,” Hackett said. “She didn’t get too upset about things, and I think that helped us jell as a group.”

Driven by her illness, Yeager volunteered for Ovarian Awareness of Kentucky as well as Friends for Life. She also sat on boards for Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital, Frazier Rehab Hospital, Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Center’s Nursing Department, Home of the Innocents and KYANNA Black Nurses Association.

Visitation will be Tuesday at Christ Church Cathedral, 421 S. Second St. in Louisville. The funeral will be 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 330 N. Hubbards Lane in Louisville.

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