University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

Remembering Marcia Gragert

It is with regret that we announce the death of Marcia Gragert, associate professor of nursing.  She died in Warren, Minn., on Sept. 4, 2010, at the North Valley Health Center after a courageous battle with cancer.  She retired from the University in August 2010.

She was born in West Springfield, Mass., on March 16 1946, to Lonnie and Roberta (Swaine) Dickerson. After high school graduation, she attended the Baystate Medical Center School of Nursing, where she earned a bachelor's degree in nursing in 1968. She served in the Army Nurse Corps and was assigned to the 95th Evacuation Hospital for her tour of duty in Vietnam. She received a Master of Science degree in nursing in 1980 from the University of Connecticut and her Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1990 from the University of Texas at Austin. She married Mike Gragert on Nov. 29, 1986.

Marcia taught at the American International College in Springfield, MA, University of Texas at Austin, University of Nebraska Medical Center, and Montana State University in Great Falls, Mont.

She joined the UND nursing faculty in 1998.  One of Marcia's key accomplishments while at the College of Nursing was the conceptualization and eventual realization of the graduate program to train advanced practice nurses as gerontological nurse practitioners or clinical nurse specialists.  Marcia's retirement from the College of Nursing was celebrated August 23, 2010, with a reception.  Some of the awards she received over the years included the Commerce Award for Excellence in Teaching at Montana State University, the 2002 ANA Research for Practice Award, and the American Journal of Nursing Gerontology Book of the Year Award for two chapters on elderly inmates.

From early in her career, Marcia's passion was working with the elderly. She was especially interested in sleep disturbances in older adults; both her master's thesis and doctoral dissertation focused on this topic. Over the years, she collaborated on several funded projects, the culmination of her efforts was in 2007 when she received a three-year Health Resources and Services Administration program grant to begin a successful Gerontological Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist program at UND.

In addition to her nursing and academic activities, she was active in the Warren/Argyle communities, serving as American Legion Commander and Chaplain, Vice Chairwoman of the Marshall County Republican Party, and Marshall County Group Home volunteer. In 2009, she was awarded Citizen of the Year for the city of Argyle, Minn.  She will be remembered as a born teacher who was loved by colleagues and students. She appreciated learning from students as much as she enjoyed teaching them. She was kind and able to support individual growth in students. She enjoyed face-to-face interaction with students and loved bright colors, fancy earrings, wonderful homemade knitted bags, and "pigs."

Marcia is survived by her husband, Mike, three nephews and a niece, and their five dogs. She did much over the years to enhance the lives of so many people. Marcia was a lovely person who could see what is unique in a person and move them forward. She was a woman of quiet courage which was an honor to witness. She will be sorely missed.

Services:  2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010, Warren American Legion Post #27 in Warren.  Military service by Warren American Legion Post #27.