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Rita P Kelleher
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Birth: 1908
Death: Nov. 2, 2009

Rita P. Kelleher Rita P. Kelleher HINGHAM Rita P. Kelleher, Dean Emeritus and longtime Professor of Nursing at Boston College School of Nursing, of Hingham, died November 02, 2009 at the age of 101. Sister of Peter Kelleher of Hingham and the late Helen Cronin, Mary Smith, Frances White, John, William, Edward, Ruth & Robert Kelleher. Rita is also survived by many nieces and nephews. Ms. Kelleher joined the Boston College School of Nursing the year it was founded in 1947, she was appointed Dean the following year. She remained in this position until her retirement in 1968. At the time of her appointment at Boston College, women were admitted only to the graduated school and the School of Arts and Science in town. Rev. Charles Donovan, S.J., University historian, credited her as one of the first women who had a great impact on the university. In the organization and administration of her position, she felt it essential that the school be recognized for its high scholastic standards and that the faculty and students be academically qualified, professional women. She enjoyed teaching and interacting with students and admitted that these activities sometimes took priority over administrative tasks. Rita was born in Hingham, daughter of Mary Fee and John Kelleher and resided there for most of her life. She attended Hingham Public School and received a diploma in nursing from the Faulkner Hospital School of Nursing in 1929. She earned a BS degree from Columbia University and a M ED from Boston University. Early in her career she taught at the Clinton Hospital, Quincy City and Massachusetts General Schools of Nursing. As a spokeswomen for nursing education and community service, she accepted appointments and involvement to many committees. She was appointed by the state governor to Chairman of the Board of registration in Nursing, the Massachusetts Committee on Children and Youth, and to the Massachusetts Committee on the Status of Women. She also served as Chairman on the Nursing Council, United Community Service. As Chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Massachusetts State Nurses Association, she lobbied for and helped obtain an all-nurse Board of Registration. In 2006, the Massachusetts State Nurses Association awarded Ms Kelleher the Nurses Living Legends Award. Ms. Kelleher was a past president of the Massachusetts League for Nursing Education and a trustee of St. Anselms College. After her retirement from Boston College in 1976, she served as a Chairman of the Council on Aging in Hingham and continued her community involvement by driving for Meals on Wheels and by serving as a receptionist at the Hersey House, the headquarters of the Elder Services. She played bridge enthusiastically , read widely, and enjoyed poetry and making it a habit of reading some daily. Despite her impressive academic career, Ms Kelleher cherished her large family foremost. One of ten children and a devoted aunt and sister, she kept in touch all her life with more than thirty nieces and nephews, their children and grandchildren. For the last eleven years she lived in an assisted-living facility and continued a happy and active life. She admitted to having a good sense of timing and was known for her quick witty and sense of humor, particularly when focused on politics. Her excellent memory allowed her to readily recall the names of former students and events, as well as the escapades, birthdays and important events of her large extended family. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral Mass in Saint Paul's Church, 147 North St., Hingham, Saturday at 10:30 AM. Burial will be private. Donations in memory of Rita may be made to Rita P. Kelleher Scholarship Fund, C/O Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02067. See or call 1-800-Keohane for directions and online condolences.

Published in The Patriot Ledger on 11/5/2009
Created by: Carol Bestick
Record added: Dec 02, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 45046828


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