Margaret Ouchi, MN, RN is not only remem­bered by her many years as a nurse, but by the differ­ence she made during those years, stepping into people’s lives and having a lasting impact. Margaret gave so much to her patients, her profes­sion and the nurses in Washington State and beyond. Her passing is signif­i­cant loss to the many who have know her as a friend, colleague, mentor and teacher.

Margaret attended the Univer­sity of Washington from 1940 to 1942 and later earned her nursing degree from Saint Mary’s in Rochester, Minnesota. She went on to receive a master’s degree from the Univer­sity of Washington in 1963.

In 2008, she and her Japanese-American class­mates from the Univer­sity of Washington class of 1942 were awarded honorary degrees in recog­ni­tion of the untimely inter­rup­tion of their studies when over 400 Japanese American students were forced to leave school for intern­ment camps during World War II. The degree also recog­nized the students’ many achieve­ments, both personal and profes­sional, despite this hardship.

Margaret worked for Swedish Hospital and the Seattle-King County Health Depart­ment as a young nurse and also served in the U.S. Navy Nurses Corps. In 1964, Margaret began working for the Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion. As a result of her work and negoti­a­tions in Olympia, there were many improve­ments in salaries, services and profes­sional standing for nurses. In recog­ni­tion of her distin­guished service, the King County Nurses Associ­a­tion named Margaret their Nurse of the Year in 1968.

In 1969 Margaret became the WSNA Director of Govern­ment Relations contin­uing her advocacy for nurses and nursing in Washington. Many of the major legisla­tive and economic advance­ments that nurses enjoy today are directly due to her tireless efforts in the Halls of the Washington State Legis­la­ture in the 1970s. Among the bills passed during her tenure were those providing for collec­tive bargaining by health care employees, amending the Nurse Practice Act, requiring company-sponsored insur­ance plans to pay for nursing services, autho­rizing nurses to prescribe legend drugs and requiring contin­uing educa­tion for re-licensing. She was a relent­less advocate for patient rights, public health and health care reform.

Governor Dan Evans appointed Margaret to the Washington State Employee Insur­ance Board in 1974 and again in 1976. She also played a key role in the estab­lish­ment of PUNCH, the WSNA polit­ical action arm, now known as the WSNA-PAC.

Her hard work, knowl­edge and integrity earned her the respect of colleagues, legis­la­tors and govern­ment officials. When she retired from the WSNA staff in 1980, she was named a Distin­guished Citizen of the State of Washington by Lieutenant Governor Cherberg.

Margaret’s long associ­a­tions and involve­ment with the Seattle area, the nursing profes­sion and the Japanese American commu­nity fostered many life-long friend­ships. Many in this room miss her person­ally, but through her contri­bu­tions to nurses and nursing, she is truly missed by all of us.