Dr. LaNelle E. Geddes
1935 - 2016
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Dr. LaNelle E. Geddes

Dr. LaNelle E. Geddes, a beloved teacher, colleague, mentor, and friend peacefully passed away on January 25, 2016. She was born September 15, 1935 in Houston, Texas, the daughter of Carl O. and Evelyn (Frank) Nerger. She was preceded in death by husband Dr. Leslie A. Geddes and a brother Carl O. Nerger, Jr.

LaNelle's professional career began in Houston, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1957. She worked as a nurse for the Houston Independent School District and for the Texas Medical Center. She was the only woman selected to participate in an interdisciplinary doctoral program at the University of Houston to increase the number of scientists, an initiative supported by the National Defense Education Act. She graduated in 1970 with a PhD in biophysics, and served two years as an appointment at Texas Women's University, Denton, Texas and the Department of Physiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston.

Dr. Geddes served as a professor in the Purdue School of Nursing from 1975-2003, when she retired as professor emeritus. Her influence on the School of Nursing was significant; both for her leadership and her contribution to the curriculum. She served as the Assistant Head from 1975-1980 and Head from 1980-1991. Her research was in cardiovascular physiology and her teaching emphasized the impact of human pathophysiologic alterations and their influence on nursing and medical care.

LaNelle's visionary inclusion of pathophysiology in the nursing curriculum empowered nursing students with the tools to make better clinical judgments and to be stronger patient advocates. Every Purdue nursing student took her class and her legacy lives on in each of them. She presented over 100 continuing education courses, lectures, and workshops to healthcare professionals during her career; bringing new knowledge to practicing nurses and paramedics in the Greater Lafayette community and around the state. From 1996-2003, Dr. Geddes taught pathophysiology to the IU School of Medicine students on the Purdue campus.

As a master teacher she set an unwavering standard of performance and inspired students to reach their full potential. Dr. Geddes received the most distinguished teaching award granted by Purdue, the AMOCO Foundation (now Murphy) award and was an inaugural inductee into the Purdue University Book of Great Teachers and fellow of the University Teaching Academy. She was also recognized by American Men and Women of Science.

Among her many recognitions, she was honored with the Helen B. Schleman Gold Medallion Award from Purdue and the Lafayette YWCA Salute to Women Award. Her multiple contributions to the Westminster Village community were recognized in 2015 by Westminster's Lifetime Service award.

LaNelle's greatest influence was on the students, faculty, and healthcare professionals with whom she engaged throughout her career. The thousands of graduates of nursing and medicine who were fortunate to have learned from her continue to make a positive impact. Her kindness, cheerful attitude, class, and positive presence will be missed by all that were blessed to know her.

A service to celebrate LaNelle's life will be held at the University Lutheran Church on March 4th, 2016 at 3:30 pm. Memorial contributions may be made to the LaNelle Geddes Scholarship in Nursing, Purdue University.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Journal & Courier on Jan. 28, 2016.
Memories & Condolences
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7 entries
February 3, 2016
I met LaNelle in 1976 when I worked at the Purdue School of Nursing LRC. She soon became my role model, mentor, and friend. I admired her intelligence, professionalism, and compassion. LaNelle was always well dressed, and soon I started noticing how I dressed. She was the first woman I knew who had a PhD, and soon I started thinking about higher education. She worked on solutions, rather than focusing on problems. And she was truly kind and compassionate to everyone.

One memory that stands out in my mind was when I visited LaNelle in the hospital once. It was at night and she was ready for bed with pajamas on and a head full of curlers. When I went into her room, I was embarrassed that I had visited too late in the evening. I expected her to apologize
for the curlers in her hair, which would have made me feel worse and be more embarrassed. But instead, she acted like she was sitting in a nice outfit with her hair and make-up done. I remember how thoughtful that was of her and how much poise and self-confidence she had to pull it off.

LaNelle was, and always will be, a role model for me both professionally and personally. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with her early in my career, to get to know her as a person, and to stay in contact throughout our lives. Our last phone conversation was a little over a month before she died. LaNelle's voice was strong and positive, which is exactly how she lived her life.
Diane Rhodes
February 3, 2016
Dr Geddes I am so honored to have met both you and your husband. There was always such joy with each and every person you encountered. Your smile and joy for life will be greatly missed.
Kimra Conrad RN
February 1, 2016
Mrs. Geddes was a mentor/inspiration to many. Her late husband, Dr. Geddes was as well. I will be forever grateful to have known both of them.
Kathy O'Brien
February 1, 2016
Lanelle was one of those people who made you feel better about yourself after interacting with her. This alone is a rare gift. Her enthusiasm and kindness shall be greatly missed. May God Bless her.
Randy Wagner
January 28, 2016
Lanelle was one of our residents on Terrace at West Minster and we were so blessed and honored to have her. She was such a cheerful, nice and polite person. I enjoyed our talks very much. She would always wave and say good morning Mary with a big smile, then would stop and hold the hand of a resident say good morning to her, then head on to the Cafe for breakfast.
She was always very well dressed in very pretty colors. Classy to the end. We all miss her so much.
Mary Linder
January 27, 2016
There was no professor like Dr. Geddes! She was amazing in every way. She was happy, kind, patient, passionate, intelligent, intelligent, intelligent...and humble! I am forever changed from her teaching and am thankful to have learned from her.
Heather Driggers
January 27, 2016
LaNelle. I will miss having lunch with you the first Friday of every month...our intellectual conversations were always lively and the fact I could always ask your advice was greatly valued. Today, Will began to research a paper for an eighth grade class project and one of the resources he found online was authored by Les. I thought it extremely fitting given the research and all the students that you and Les taught will continue to impact society for many years to come...including my own children. I will miss you. Love. David
David Lasater
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