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In memoriam: Dr. Joyce Valborg Zerwekh


Joyce zerwekh

Joyce Valborg Zerwekh, of Portland, OR, passed away on December 20, 2021 after a sudden battle with cholangiocarcinoma.

Joyce was born January 8, 1945 in Oak Park, IL. She was adopted by loving parents, Ruth and William McCan­less. Growing up in north­west Chicago, she and her mother would explore the city via the L”, instilling a sense of adven­ture she would exhibit throughout her life. In her teen years, the family moved to a new home in suburban Glenview, IL and the train rides ended.

After gradu­ating from Glenbrook High School, she enrolled at St. Olaf College, North­field, MN. It was here she grew from her sheltered teenage years and created the founda­tion of her nursing career. Gradu­ating in 1966, she enrolled at New York Univer­sity. In Green­wich Village she was trans­formed by the civil rights and social justice issues faced by her patients every day. She earned her Masters in Nursing in 1969. Never one to sit still, Joyce moved back to the midwest to teach nursing at the Univer­sity of Wisconsin, Madison. It was here that she married an ideal­istic engineer and theolog­ical student named Michael Zerwekh. Wanting to learn more about the spiri­tual questions they both held, Joyce and Mike moved to Philadel­phia, PA to live and study at Pendle Hill Quaker Study Center in 1970.

In the summer of 1971, they drove cross country to Seattle, WA, a city Joyce would call home for nearly 25 years. During these years, Joyce would be a visiting nurse and help start Hospice of Seattle. She would teach at both the Univer­sity of Washington and Seattle Univer­sity. She earned her Doctorate in Educa­tion from SU and lost her husband to suicide. Most signif­i­cantly, she raised two sons, Gregory and Joel Zerwekh!

Upon leaving Seattle Univer­sity, her search for the next adven­ture materi­al­ized as a teaching position at Florida Atlantic Univer­sity in sunny Boca Raton, FL. After seven family Christ­mases on the beach, an oppor­tu­nity to start a brand new nursing program in Portland presented itself. In 2003, Joyce returned to the north­west to be the founding director of the Concordia Univer­sity School of Nursing. After retiring from Concordia, Joyce took her own advice, downsized her posses­sions, sold her home, and moved into Holladay Park Plaza. For the last seven years she would marvel at her ever changing view of Mt Hood, travel at home and abroad, foster new friend­ships, and stir up some good trouble with the leader­ship at HPP.

Joyce is survived by Joel Zerwekh of Seattle, WA and Gregory Zerwekh of Portland, OR.

There is a planned memorial on January 23, 2022 at Multnomah Friends Meeting, Portland, OR. And via Zoom.

Reposted from https://​everloved​.com