Evelyn Marjorie Peck, MA, RN, distinguished nursing leader, entered into eternal rest on June 26, 2022, at age 97. A graduate of St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing in New York City, she subsequently became Director of the School and Vice President of Hospital Administration at the hospital. She earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Ms. Peck served as President and was a member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) and also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Nurses Association (ANA). As President of NYSNA, Evelyn was instrumental in the effort to revise the legal definition of nursing in New York State to define autonomous nursing practice. In her presidential address subsequent to Governor Rockefeller’s veto of the bill she declared, “Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead!” The bill passed in the next legislative session and was signed into law by Governor Rockefeller. She was awarded NYSNA’s Honorary Recognition Award for her outstanding leadership.
Evelyn also served as the Executive Director of the Frontier Nursing Service, was on the faculty at the University of Missouri, and was the Director of Nursing at Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital in Columbia, MO. She was instrumental in the founding of the Center for Nursing at the Foundation of New York State Nurses (CFN) and was honored for that at the CFN’s mortgage-burning celebration. She loved the Metropolitan Opera and was devoted to the St. Louis Cardinals. While in New York she was a faithful congregant of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
Patricia Perry, Past President of CFN, noted on Evelyn’s passing, “My father, who was Executive Director of St. Luke’s Medical Center, would often relate that Evelyn wanted this or that and he had to figure out what to do. Although I hadn’t known Evelyn I always knew she was a force to be reckoned with for the good of patients and nursing, and an advocate for both with administration.”
Shortly before her death, Ms. Peck relocated from an assisted living facility to a nursing home. One week before her death she described to a friend the changes she thought were needed there to improve the quality of patient care. Her passionate dedication to excellence in nursing and health care never ceased. She is survived by her niece Nancy Tatum, Nancy’s son Dale, and her faithful loving friend, Janet Thompson.