Ruth McCorkle
1940 - 2019
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McCorkle, Ruth
Ruth McCorkle, PhD, RN, FAPOS, FAAN, an international leader in healthcare and a pioneer in oncology nursing, symptom science, hospice and palliative care, died peacefully at her home in Connecticut on August 17, 2019 surrounded by her loving family. Born Margaret "Ruth" McCorkle in Johnson City, TN on March 4, 1940, her parents, John Joseph McCorkle and Virginia Upchurch McCorkle, inspired her voracious work ethic. Her life's vocation was preceded by experiences with the US Air Force Nurse Corps helping mortally wounded soldiers transition from battlefields in Vietnam to their untimely deaths. Her experience serving our country influenced her vision of the nurse's role in assisting vulnerable individuals cope with life's most difficult circumstances, as well as bringing death out from the shadows and ultimately to academia, research endeavors, and clinical practice. This led her to study at St. Christopher's Hospice in London and later to cofound the Hospice of Seattle and the Northwest Regional Oncology Society, culminating in the development of the Symptom Distress Scale and the Enforced Social Dependency Scale, both groundbreaking measures in psychosocial oncology. As Principal Investigator on seven clinical trials, McCorkle furthered the role of Advance Practice Nurses on quality of life and survival among chronically ill patients. As Florence Schorske Wald Professor Emerita of Nursing and Professor Emerita of Medicine and Public Health at Yale University, McCorkle continued her work as Director of Psychosocial Oncology at the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center until her retirement in the Spring of 2019. McCorkle's professional career also included stints as Professor of Nursing at the University of Washington, Professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, and Associate Director of Cancer Control at the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Comprehensive Center. A prolific writer, McCorkle's works appear in many professional nursing and medical journals in the US and abroad. Among her innumerable accolades, she was the first non-medical research recipient of a National Cancer Institute Research Training Grant, was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1990, and was named Nurse Scientist of the Year by the Council of Nurse Researchers in 1993. In 2017 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Yale Cancer Center, and in 2018 received the American Academy of Nursing's highest honor as a "Living Legend". McCorkle's career was second only to her love for family and friends. She will be lovingly remembered by her six children, granddaughter, sister, three nieces, and countless protégés. Calling Hours will be from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. at Sisk Brothers Funeral Home, 3105 Whitney Ave., Hamden on Tuesday, Aug. 20th. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital, 35 Park St., New Haven, CT 06511

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Published in The New Haven Register on Aug. 18, 2019.
Calling hours
04:00 - 07:00 PM
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31 entries
September 7, 2019
Hi. This is Jackie. I did Ruth's hair. I would have loved to be at the service for Ruth, but I was out of town. She is one of my favorite people. I just love her. Thinking of you all.
Jacqueline Stakel
September 4, 2019
May her Memory be Eternal! She inspired many to be the best nurses and her work will last for the ages. A gifted life we have lost here. Thanks for all your additions to the profession and to oncology. - Dr. Cynthia Chernecky.
Cynthia Chernecky
September 3, 2019
Ruth was a wonderful clinician, scholar, professional mentor, and patients' advocate. I got to know her while I was Associate Dean at Yale Law School and was a frequent visitor and lecturer in Health Law & Policy at the Nursing School. She will be missed, but surely not forgotten. Blessings to her family, friends and colleagues, Barbara Safriet
August 31, 2019
Ruth was an amazing mentor during my doctoral education. She was a generous and dedicated to her student. I was so lucky to have her in my life. You've given so much and you will missed.
Allen Orsi
August 29, 2019
Ruth inspired me as an undergraduate, mentored me as a new grad and taught me so much as a graduate student. Ruth had a profound influence on my entire nursing career. I am truly grateful for the wisdom and caring gifts Ruth shared with me and so many other nurses. May peace and light surround her family.
Mary Jo Tornberg
August 26, 2019
Ruth was my dissertation chair and my lifelong mentor. She has a really good heart and always tries to help people around her. I am truly grateful to have Ruth in my life. Thank you very much, Ruth! I will always remember you...
Shan Liu
August 23, 2019
Ruth was my dissertation chair and chose me for one of her Pre-doctoral fellowships. The opportunity to work with her, write with her, and maintain a lifelong friendship was a great gift. Thank you Ruth.
Linda Robinson
August 23, 2019
Ruth was a wonderful colleague and friend. I had the pleasure of serving with her on the Research Committee, of participating with her in the development of the ONCC, and in sharing many other oncology/oncology nursing experiences with her through the years. She was always so smart and such fun and so giving. I will miss her so very much!
Anne Belcher
Anne Belcher
August 22, 2019
The prize of peace is finally yours. Your children had the best example of a selfless and caring human being. You should smile from heaven and give them your strength.
Tom & Terry Flynn
August 20, 2019
Ruth changed lives and transformed the way cancer care is delivered today. On behalf of countless professionals in oncology, her friends and colleagues through the American Psychosocial Oncology Society and all of us whom she mentored, coached and cajoled for several decades to always keep the patient and caregiver together as our one true-north, we are eternally grateful to have had Ruth in our lives.
Vicki Kennedy
August 20, 2019
So long, it's been good to know you! Thanks for everything. You made me a better educator, researcher, writer of grants, practitioner of oncology nursing, and a better softball player. You gave me so many opportunities and made me successful in oncology nursing. You helped hundreds, perhaps thousands of other nurses, students and patients through your work. Truly a legend!
Gloria Hagopian
August 20, 2019
Ruth was sensitive and sensible while leading both nursing and medicine toward better patient and family care. Her contributions were under-estimated because of her soft assertive approach. She was a "care changer". Jerry Yates
Jerome Yates
August 20, 2019
The legacy Ruth has left on the profession of nursing and her impact on the delivery of care within the healthcare system is unmatched by any words that can be written. She was an amazing person, mentor, and dissertation chair. My deepest condolences to her family and colleagues. Wishing you all peace and comfort during this sad and difficult time.
Elizabeth Burgess Dowdell
August 20, 2019
Very fortunate to know Ruth at Penn and learn from her on a research project. An amazing scholar, sending sympathy to her family and friends.
Christine Bradway
August 20, 2019
So very sorry for your loss, I worked at Yale School of Nursing with Ruth, she was a wonderful person, prayers for your family.
Bob Picagli
August 19, 2019
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August 19, 2019
Ruth brought out the best in everyone. I'm grateful that my family and I had her in our lives. Rest In Peace.
Love, Maureen
Maureen Flynn
August 19, 2019
Thank you Ruth, you inspired me as a life long learner to explore the human spirit in living and dying. To your children, thank you for sharing your mom with the world of oncology nursing.
Ann Culkin
Oncology Nurse
August 19, 2019
Ruth was my colleague at Yale. She was also my best friend. Ruth, you were the brightest and the best in both your professional and private lives. Prayers to John, Dave, Amanda, Nick, Jessie and Anna. She loved you all dearly and was very proud of you. Shine on Ruth.
Ann Ameling
August 19, 2019
Condolences to Ruth's family. We went to Maryland General Hospital School of Nursing together and competed in both basketball and scholastics with love and determination. With nursing reunions and Christmas cards through these many years, we had been able to keep in touch. So sorry to lose you, Corky. Thanks for the many fond and funny memories.

Dallas Cunningham DeBell
Broomfield, Colorado
August 19, 2019
A giant in oncology and oncology nursing- and one of the most accessible and generous of colleagues, the most humble of mentors and always a thoughtful friend. Ruth will be sorely missed at Smilow, YSN and around the world. What a treasure! Rest In Peace , Ruth.
Andree de Lisser
August 19, 2019
I will miss your straight shooting, humor and intellect Ruth. Much love until we meet again.

Shannon McMahon Romanos
Shannon McMahon Romanos
August 19, 2019
My life was fuller for knowing Ruth.
Chris Schmaltz
August 19, 2019
A wonderful colleague known for her brilliance, innovation, can-do spirit, and sense of fun. She touched hundreds if not housands of people, and will be missed. But her legacy will endure. Neville Strumpf, University of Pennsylvania
August 19, 2019
We will miss you Ruth. You have been a great nurse who has inspired many others. Thank you for all your work and especially for your inspiration.

Marion Morra
Marion Morra
August 19, 2019
My baseball friend a beautiful person
Joe DeMatteo
August 19, 2019
Ruth was an icon in nursing. She was such an amazing mentor and selflessly helped anyone who was willing to accept her assistance. I am better for knowing her.
Ivy Alexander
August 19, 2019
I extend my most heartfelt sympathy to Ruth's family. I worked with Ruth for several years when we were on faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and learned a great deal about oncology nursing and mentoring of pre- and post-doctoral nurses. Her publications are a lasting tribute to a superb scholar. All of us who ever knew Ruth will miss her very, very much.
Jacqueline Fawcett
August 19, 2019
Carol-Ann Cenac
August 19, 2019
Ruth gave so much to so many I remember her with great fondness and for all her kind and caring support.
Pat McCormick
August 18, 2019
Donna Rizzi
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