Mariana I. Churchill was a Public Health Nurse at Berkeley City Health Department when she first became known to members of this group. In 1973, she became the Director of Public Health Nursing in San Diego County. She was elected President of the California Conference of Local Health Department Nursing Directors in 1977 and, along with the Southern Regional Directors, hosted our annual conference in San Diego in 1978. This was our first annual conference held in a different location from Asilomar and it became a monumental logistics task to get the majority of the group to come – especially those reluctant to make long journeys. She did a masterful job and her hospitality made us all feel most welcome in this beautiful setting. The alternate location idea was popular enough to promote a conference at Lake Tahoe the following year, and in the Napa Valley in 1982.
Mariana was a very astute, caring, capable leader and those of us who knew her are richer for what she shared with us. One of our favorite quotes from Mariana was “we have a tendency to rearrange desk chairs on the Titanic”. Unfortunately ill health befell her in 1980 and she passed away in 1981. Harriet Taylor commissioned Barbara Brown (Monterey County) to create a stained glass Sunburst in memory of Mariana. This mutual gift was officially presented to the incumbent conference president, Ann Ivey, at the spring conference at Asilomar in 1982. Since then it has been passed on to each succeeding president for her term of office, as a ray of sunshine and inspiration for the Conference leadership.
– Juanita Tolle
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