Joan Kershner

Mass of Christian Burial for Joan Kershner, age 96, of Creighton, Nebraska will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, August 28, 2019, at St. Ludger Catholic Church in Creighton. Reverend Jeremy Hans will be Celebrant, with burial in St. Ludger Catholic Cemetery.

Military Honors will be provided by Veterans of Foreign Wars post 1151, American Legion Post 74, and Army National Guard Honor Guard.

Visitation will be Tuesday from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Brockhaus Funeral Home in Creighton, with a 7:00 p.m. Wake Service.

Joan died Sunday, August 25, 2019, at her residence.

Joan Kershner was born in Creighton, Nebraska on July 3, 1923, to Joseph and Irene Collins Schneider. She attended St. Ludger Academy in Creighton, from grades one through 12, graduating in May 1941; received a B.A. degree, cum laude, from Clarke College, in Dubuque, IA in 1945, and in 1946 completed a Dietetic Internship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, and The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD.

In October 1946 Joan entered the US Army as a staff dietitian and was assigned to the Medical Replacement Pool at Fort Dix, New Jersey. From there to subsequent assignments at Oliver General Hospital, Augusta, GA; Brooke Army Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX, Regional Army Hospital, Fort Gordon, Augusta, GA. April 24, 1948, she married John W. Kershner at Oliver General Hospital Chapel in Augusta, GA and received an honorable discharge in 1950 from the US Air Force to which she had been transferred.

At Walter Reed, among a broad spectrum of health subjects, Joan was trained in tuberculosis technique. Post discharge from the military, she was asked to work as a staff dietitian at the VA Hospital in Atlanta, GA, a tuberculosis facility. From Atlanta, she was promoted to more responsible positions in Augusta, GA and Chamblee, GA and in 1964 was promoted to Chief Dietitian at the VA Hospital in Phoenix, AZ.

After her husband’s death in 1965, Joan was transferred to the VA facility at Durham, NC. In 1967 the Chief Medical Director in Washington, D.C. selected her for additional education in Hospital Management. After studying for a year in Nashville, TN, she was assigned to the VA Hospital in Montgomery, AL as Asst Hospital Director. Subsequently, Joan was assigned to larger hospitals in Lake City, FL and Tampa, FL as Associate Hospital Director.

In February 1976 Joan was appointed by the Administrator of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC as the Hospital Director of the VA Medical Center in Columbia, SC where she remained until her retirement in 1987. At that time, of the 172 hospital facilities of the Veterans Administration, she was one of the first three females to be appointment Director of a VA Medical Center and the first from a hospital. The other two had held positions in Washington, DC

During her career, she was President of the Georgia Dietetic Assn and National Chairman of Publicity for the American Dietetic Association in Chicago, IL; and authored a monthly Nutrition News Letter. She was a Girl Scout Leader for several years.

During her career she completed additional graduate studies in Hospital Management at Columbia University in New York City and at Harvard School of Business in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As Hospital Director she also was Preceptor for a graduate student from George Washington University, Washington, DC and two from the Veterans Administration; was Clinical Professor of Allied Health  Professions, Emory University, Atlanta, GA; Adjunct Professor at the University of South Carolina School of Business for seven years; member and Chairman of the Advisory C & S Bank Board in Columbia, SC; member of the Board of United Way, Columbia, SC; member of the Executive Women in Business of Columbia, SC; member of the Red Cross, blood bank section; participated in the South Carolina Governor’s Advisory group for veterans, and participated in various studies in South Carolina on education, and health care; was a member of the Chamber of Commerce Committee on race relations. In Creighton, NE she was an active Board Member of the Creighton Historical Center, Inc. and was Treasurer for the organization for several years.

Mrs. Kershner received many certificates of appreciation including from the South Carolina Governor; the South Carolina State Legislature; the Veterans Administration Presidents Award, one signed by President Jimmy Carter and another signed by President Ronald Reagan; the University of South Carolina; an Outstanding Alumni Award from Clarke College; The Distinguished Career Award signed by the Administrator of the Veterans Administration, plus letters of appreciation from many groups to whom she had given lectures.

Joan was an active member of Epiphany Catholic Church in Lake City, FL and President of St Ann’s Guild; St Ludger Catholic Church in Creighton, NE and other Catholic Churches in the various cities in which she lived. She was a 39 year member of the American Legion Posts in Columbia, SC and Creighton, NE and was a member and a Board Member of MOAA (Military Officers of America Assn).

She is survived by her three children, Joseph Schneider Kershner of Roanoke, VA, Mary Jo Kershner-Saedi of Creighton, NE, and John Matthew (Kathleen) Kershner of Lynden, Washington; and one grandson, John Jacob Kershner.

Her husband John W. Kershner preceded her in death, as did her parents and sisters, Sr. Norine, BVM, and Sr. Helen Schneider, BVM.