Professor Norma Jane Kolthoff
Norma Jane Kolthoff, Emerita Professor of Nursing, was born on August 15, 1921 to Clyde and Ruth (nee Creager) Kolthoff in Chicago, Illinois. Always interested in science, Norma obtained her bachelor's degree in zoology in 1943 from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. She then responded to the wartime effort and joined the Cadet Nursing Corps and enrolled in a program for students who already had a bachelor's degree. She obtained her Master's degree in Nursing in l945 from Case Western Reserve University. Her interest in science spurred her to continue her education at Indiana University where she obtained an additional Master's Degree, this time in zoology. She then assumed a teaching position at Case Western Reserve University School of Nursing but soon her quest for further knowledge led her to pursue a doctorate in physiology from Boston University which she obtained in l964. She was the first nurse to receive a Ph.D. in physiology. She returned to a faculty position at Case Western Reserve University School of Nursing where she continued her research on blood flow rates and microcirculation. She gained national recognition as a leader, consultant, and presenter in advocating the need for systematic study of critical problems and issues in nursing.
In l971, when Dr. Kolthoff joined the faculty of School of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she was one of the first wave of doctorally prepared nursing faculty. She contributed significantly to the development of the school's curricular and research programs. She designed the first physiology research laboratory for the school of nursing and was instrumental in introducing research methodology at the undergraduate level. She was project director of the School's institutional research development program and coordinator for research services which served as the foundation for the strong research base of the School. In addition, she was an active participant on several University committees including being the first woman to serve on the Biological Sciences Division. Nationally, she served on several prestigious committees including the US Public Health Service Nursing Review Committee. Several editions of her textbook on introductory physiology were used by many schools of nursing. Her many contributions were recognized by faculty colleagues who named her the Helen Denne Schulte Professor of Nursing and, nationally, she was elected a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.
Dr. Kolthoff brought the same enthusiasm and commitment to environmental and ecological issues. A dedicated naturalist with intense interest in the natural order of things, she traveled widely, studied intensely, and kept meticulous records and photographs of her experiences. She loved to organize "slide shows" to share her travels, especially notable were her records of hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes, rafting through the Grand Canyon, and sailing on a "Tall Ship" through the islands of the South Pacific. She was noted among her colleagues as a charming hostess and parties at her home on Woodward Drive were always full of carefully planned surprises. Her retirement allowed her to focus her energies on an exhaustive study of the Louis and Clark Expedition, including systematic exploration of many segments of that remarkable journey. Pets were always a large part of her life. Most recently, Erie, her service dog trained to assist her as her hearing decreased, was her beloved companion accompanying her everywhere.
She very much appreciated her years at Oakwood East and the kindness and consideration of the staff. She is survived by her sister-in-law, Mildred Kolthoff of Naperville, IL; two nephews, James Paul (Grace) Kolthoff of Marysville, WA and David Lee (Carol) Kolthoff of San Diego, CA, great niece Katie, great nephew Joshua and daughter, Callie. Norma was preceded in death by her parents and brother C. Paul Kolthoff.
A memorial service will be held Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at Oakwood Village East-Tree of Life Chapel, 5565 Tancho Dr., Madison at 12:30 pm. There will be a visitation 1 hour prior to the service. Inurnment will be held in the spring at Naperville Cemetery, IL.
Memorials can be made to; The International Crane Foundation Baraboo; Wisconsin Native Conservancy; or Agrace HospiceCare Inc.
It is hard to beat Dr. Calkin's description; Norma was a special person. I last visited Norma a few months ago and although her health was failing, the sparkle of laughter was still in her eyes. This is a photo of Norma instructing one of the models at the Historical Tea on how to where the cadet nursing uniform.
Norma joined the UW-Nursing faculty a year after I came to Madison. Her infectious interest in the world around her, her sense of humour and adventure, her willingness to engage in converstaion with a very junior faculty member ....and so many other wonderful attributes and skills made her a delight in our world. She is without exception the most persistent learner I have had the pleasure of knowing and observing. She embodied the gift of 'scholarship' both in her formal work and in her 'free time'.
I loved to hear her laughter as she engaged in some aspect of her world. I'll raise a glass here in Nova Scotia and smile at the memory of many a time with the Friday night Cuba Club group of which Norma was a loyal member.....
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