Laurice (Laurie) Ferris, a distinguished nurse, died unexpectedly Thursday, October 26, 2023 in her home at Carolina Meadows at the age of 87. She was born November 17, 1935 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Laurie found her spiritual home at St. Barbara’s Greek Orthodox Church, Durham, NC. She was an active member contributing much to the life and work of the church, including the Ladies Philoptochos Society.
She graduated from Classical High School, Springfield, MA and received her BSN in 1957, followed by a Nursing Administration /Continuing Education/Master of Arts at Teachers’ College, Columbia University, New York in 1964. She also achieved a Post Graduate Certificate in 1967 as Cardiovascular Clinical Specialist.
She was appointed as Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing in October, 1972, having been recruited to establish the Cardiac Care Nursing Curriculum. She went on achieve the title of Associate Professor and Director of Continuing Education until her retirement in July, 1997.
As an emeritus faculty, she established the Laurice Ferris Endowment for Nurse Leaders to support graduate students in nursing with the goal of developing the next generation of nurse leaders.
“Nurses need to be at the table when healthcare policy decisions are being made, to advocate for nursing and to advocate for the patients they care for,” Ferris says, “To get to the table, nurses need the education, and credentials.”
Laurie had a successful career in nursing innovation and research. While living in Ohio, she established a program of nursing education in cardiovascular and critical care. She also established several teaching centers in northwestern Ohio counties. She established similar programs for nurses across North Carolina.
She directed the school’s continuing education division for many years, and she participated in a three-month U.S. Health and Human Services grant in Washington, D.C while carrying out her responsibilities as Director of Continuing Education. This experience was most valuable in examining the impact of national policies in the healthcare field.
Laurie was also on several University Committees, sharing her talents and skills with the greater academic community. She was known for her expertise in Cardiac Care, Gerontology, and Nursing Continuing Education.
Her public service continued into retirement, with notable achievements to the Chapel Hill Service League, church family, League of Women Voters, American Nurses Association, North Carolina Nurses Association, North Carolina Nursing Foundation, and American Heart Association.
She was a passionate UNC Tar Heel supporter of UNC Men’s and Women’s Basketball and other sports from the time she arrived in Chapel Hill. She rarely missed a home game, traveled to many away games, including the 1993 Men’s Basketball Championship, Monday nights post-game events, and downtown celebrations.
She is survived by a sister, Louise Vernadakis (James) of Tyngboro, MA; niece, Patricia Joseph Lewis (Robert) of Santa Fe, New Mexico and nephew, Lawrence Joseph of Maumee, Ohio; nephews, Adam Vernadakis (MA), Ben Vernadakis (CO) and Joseph Russo (MA), sisters-in-law Linda Joseph and Terrie Joseph, and many cousins in the New England area. She was preceded in death by her parents, Louis Ferris and Dora Dahrooge Ferris, siblings Rosa, Doris, Mary, and nephews Phillip and Victor.
Services will be Friday, November 10, 2023 10am at St. Barbara’s Greek Orthodox Church, Durham, NC. Interment will be in Chicopee, MA.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Barbara’s Greek Orthodox Church, Durham, NC Stewardship Fund, 8306 NC Hwy 751, Durham, NC 27713 or the Laurice Ferris Endowment for Nurse Leaders, UNC School of Nursing, c/o Gift Services, P.O. Box 309, Chapel Hill, N.C.
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