Marjorie Kohut Chorness


Marjorie Agatha Kohut Chorness, registered nurse, college professor, world traveler and voracious reader, is on to her next great adventure after passing peacefully of natural causes on July 9, 2019, in Sacramento, Ca. She was 94 and a half to the day.
Born on January 9, 1925, in Johnstown, Pa., Marjorie was the last of eight children in a family that weathered the Depression, World War II, and the loss of their father when she was only 3. After graduating from Johnstown High School in 1943, Marjorie was determined to break the conventions of her day by seeking adventure and a career in nursing. She joined the newly formed Cadet Nurse Corps in 1944 and set out on a path out of her home town toward a fulfilling, decades-long career in nursing and academics.
She moved to Detroit, MI, where she earned a Diploma in Nursing from Harper Hospital School of Nursing in 1947 and a B.S. in Nursing from Wayne State University in 1951. She went on her first big trip at 22 when she took a job for a year as an industrial nurse with a construction company on post-World War II Okinawa. Returning to the U.S., she joined the U.S. Air Force and was stationed as a 1st Lieutenant from 1951-54 at Lackland Air Force Base Texas, where she enjoyed dancing in the Officers' Club and dating pilots who tipped their wings to her.
She met her devoted husband, Maury, then working on his Ph.D. at nearby University of Texas at Austin. They married in 1953 and had four daughters in five years. In 1960, the family moved to California, living mostly in the Bay Area where they raised their girls and built their careers. Marjorie again broke convention by going back to work and school while juggling motherhood, earning a master's in nursing from the University of California, San Francisco, and another master's in education from Holy Names College, Oakland. She also took coursework toward her doctorate in nursing education. She merged her love of nursing and education from 1972-1983 by teaching in the nursing departments at Holy Names College; California State University, Hayward; and California State University, Stanislaus. She was a member of the American Nurses Association, California Nurses Association, and Alameda County Nurses Association, where she served as president from 1978-80. She found time to volunteer for Planned Parenthood and testify at the State Capitol in favor of legislation requiring continuing education for nurses.
She and her husband then lived overseas for nearly a decade in the 1980's as Maury, an industrial psychologist, held jobs in Norway; Saudi Arabia, where Marjorie worked as a hospital infection control coordinator; and Egypt. The couple returned to the states and retired in Santa Rosa, living amid the vineyards for 25 years. Marjorie used her seemingly limitless energy to help seniors with their taxes, volunteer for the Red Cross at disasters across the country, and work in infection control for a hospital in Hawaii. She held her license with the Board of Registered Nursing until she was 89.
Marjorie had a passion for dinette sets, fine china, crystal, and sterling silverware. She took meticulous care of her St. John Knits and Ferragamo pumps, wearing both elegantly until the end of her life. Everyone admired her ability to toss on a silk scarf and have it fall just right every time. She was an ardent record keeper who kept track of her life by jotting down details in her notebooks. She read the newspaper cover-to-cover every day and ended every night by turning in early with a good book. Nearly to her last days, Marjorie had a sharp mind that was endlessly curious about current events, history, and politics. Her doctorate in nursing education shall forever be a work in progress.
Marjorie was predeceased by Maury in 2014 after 61 years of marriage. She lived at Mercy McMahon Terrace since January 2017 where, ever the college professor, she relentlessly queried the staff about their training, education, and career goals, and encouraged them to advance their professional development.
She will be missed by daughters Lisa Hovden, Catherine Chorness, Cinde Breedlove, and Marjorie A. Chorness; grandchildren Alexis and Brittany Hovden, Stefan Maletic, and Carrie Breedlove. She was dearly loved by nephews David Gula and Jeremy and Joel McCreary, who considered her their second mom; son-in-law John Breedlove; and former son-on-law Del Hovden.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Mercy McMahon Terrace and Snowline Hospice who cared for Marjorie and her family with tenderness and compassion. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Mercy McMahon Terrace at; or Snowline Hospice, 6520 Pleasant Valley Rd, Diamond Springs, CA 95619.
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Published on August 6, 2019
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