In Memory of Adele Bemis, Nurse Leader, Educator, Icon

By Luisa Buttler | Published: April 22, 2019

In Memory of Adele Bemis, Nurse Leader, Educator, Icon

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is saddened by the loss of former faculty member, Adele Bemis, MSN, RN. A nurse leader, educator, and life-long learner, Bemis passed away April 12, 2019, at the age of 90.

Bemis was a pioneer in her field, an icon in the nursing community, and a valued member of the Island University nursing faculty well into her eighties. In recognition of Bemis’ leadership, the local Eta Omicron Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing, created the Adele Bemis Leadership Lecture series, which just celebrated its fifth year. The series supports Bemis’ passions: life-long learning through continuing education presentations and support of nursing students as they achieve their goal of becoming a professional nurse.

“Ms. Bemis was an amazing person who never showed her age, in fact, she had more energy than people half her age,” said Dr. Bunny Forgione, Executive Associate Dean in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS) at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “Her presence on campus and in the community will be missed.”

Bemis, who joined the Island University faculty in 1994, was a frequent honored guest at nursing white coat ceremonies, Sigma Theta Tau inductions, and she took special joy in attending the lecture series named in her honor.

“Adele was deeply respected and loved by her students and colleagues,” said Dr. Elizabeth Sefcik, A&M-Corpus Christi Nursing Professor. “She will be remembered by her colleagues, friends, and fellow nurses as a realistic, genuine, and fun-loving person of integrity.”

Bemis earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Island University in 1979 and a Master of Science in Nursing from the Island University in 1984, the same year she became a charter member of the local Eta Omicron Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau. Along with her work as university faculty, Bemis also worked at Driscoll Children’s Hospital for 15 years and was the Director of Education at Doctor’s Regional Medical Center, where she worked for two decades. Bemis was also an active volunteer with the American Heart Association.

“I first met Adele when I was a staff nurse and nursing instructor at Driscoll Children’s Hospital and she was the chief nursing officer,” said Dr. Mary Jane Hamilton, A&M-Corpus Christi Nursing Professor. “A staunch defender of patient care and nursing, nothing escaped her. She was revered by the faculty and students she worked with. She was a crusty, salty person who lived life on her own terms and will be greatly missed.”

Additional Information

A memorial service for Bemis will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 4, at Saint Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, 622 Airline Rd. For those wishing to honor Bemis and perpetuate her memory through a memorial contribution, a check made out to STTI – Eta Omicron Chapter with “Adele Bemis” in the memo line may be sent to Sigma Theta Tau International, 351 Troy Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78412. The Bemis family will be sent acknowledgement of the gift.