Josephine Hibbeln (1935 - 2012)

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(NEWS ARTICLE) BOWLING GREEN -- A longtime registered nurse who taught at the University of Toledo and became a certified nurse practitioner, Josephine Hibbeln died of pancreatic cancer Tuesday in her Ogden, Utah, home. She was 77.

She retired after the death in 2007 of her husband, H. Kenneth Hibbeln, who was an associate professor emeritus of political science at Bowling Green State University.

She moved to Utah to be close to family.

Mrs. Hibbeln was an associate professor of nursing science at the University of Toledo whose aim -- and expectation -- was that students master the material. "She was getting them ready to perform and function as a nurse," said her son Christopher.

Her son Paul said: "She was demanding. She was built for hard work and expected it from anyone she taught.

"She really hated the idea of nurses in hospitals not being able to perform to the level she could," her son Paul said. "She wanted nurses she taught to be good nurses."

Experience gained through years of hospital nursing made her a model for students to emulate.

"The students grasped so much from her," said Betty Lemon, a retired assistant director of UT's associate degree nursing program. "She had a deep understanding of what she was teaching.

"She was a joy to work with," Mrs. Lemon said. "She had a very natural talent in her teaching."

She furthered her own education along the way. She received a master's degree in nursing from the former Medical College of Ohio in 1989. Continuing her studies, she received nurse practitioner certification from the former MCO and was licensed by the state in 1998.

"Professionally, she really wanted to be always doing something new and always moving forward," her son Paul said. "She was never satisfied with any particular tier on that [career] ladder.

She was especially proud, son Christopher said, when as a nurse practitioner she diagnosed a case of pneumonia for the first time.

Earlier, she taught at the Wood County School of Practical Nursing and at what is now Owens Community College.

She wrote articles about health-care issues in the Hispanic community. She was chairman of the minority issues assembly for the Ohio Nurses Association. And she volunteered at clinics in Wood County for migrant workers.

"She never lost her Chicano or Hispanic heritage," her son Paul said. "She wanted to serve the Hispanic community."

She was born March 21, 1935, in McPhee, Colo., to Angelica Gomez Ulibarri and Joseph Ulibarri. She was a graduate of Delores, Colo., High School. She continued her education at her father's suggestion and was a graduate of St. Benedict's School of Nursing in Ogden, Utah, where the family had relocated.

She was a nurse for hospitals in the San Francisco area. After she married, she and her husband moved to Utah, and she received her bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Utah. Later, the family moved to Santa Barbara, and she was a hospital nurse there. The family moved to Bowling Green in 1978.

She was a fan of both BGSU and UT basketball and football teams, and she and her husband went regularly to BGSU games.

She was a member of St. Aloysius Church in Bowling Green, serving as a lay minister and on the pastoral council. She exercised regularly -- running and, in later years, walking, plus bowling.

She was a fireball, son Christopher said, "and everybody thought she was younger than she was."

"Everybody viewed her as an incredibly giving, loving person," son Christopher said. "She ended up with so many friends. We have a hard time keeping track of all the people whose lives she touched."

She and her husband married April 27, 1970. He died June 30, 2007.

Surviving are her sons, Paul and Christopher Hibbeln; brothers, Richard and John Ulibarri; sister, Patricia Brown, and a grandson.

A Mass in her memory is to be celebrated Thursday at 10 a.m. Thursday in St. Aloysius Church, Bowling Green. Services also are scheduled for July 9 at 10 a.m. in Holy Family Church, South Ogden, Utah, where she was a member, and July 12 at 11 a.m. in Lindquist Mortuary, Ogden, Utah.

The family suggests tributes to the Rocky Mountain Care Foundation and the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com">mzaborney@theblade.com">mzaborney@theblade.com">mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.
Published in Toledo Blade on June 24, 2012
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