Memories of Jeanne Gittings

This week a dear friend of mine passed away suddenly.  Jeanne Gittings ran the library at Trinity Regional Health System.  Jeanne and I worked together from 1995 to 2000.  A fraction of her career in the Trinity – she started in 1969 after receiving her degree from Augustana that same year.

Jeanne was dedicated to her role as a medical librarian.  It seemed more like a calling than a career.  She was selfless and constantly adopting with the times.  I got to work with Jeanne during the Internet revolution.  During that time I saw the library go from periodicals and books to PubMed and the web.

Jeanne and I taught a series of community classes on how to search for reliable medical information on the Internet.  She convinced me that I should be demonstrating Google searches (at the time I was an Alta Vista user).

After leaving Trinity I found that all medical librarians seem to demonstrate the traits of service and adaptability.  At Affinity I found that Michele Matucheski and Mary Bayorgeon were from that same mold.

Appreciate your medical librarians.  I can’t think of a better way to honor Jeanne’s memory.

5 thoughts on “Memories of Jeanne Gittings

  1. Jeanne Gittings was a kind soul with a dear heart, and she will be greatly missed. Jeanne and I shared a passion for knowledge and could pass the time talking about everything from the most recent book we had read to how our “boys” were doing on the NASCAR circuit. I’m a 33 year veteran of Trinity, so Jeanne and I worked together for a very long time. Her knowledge and skills will be sorely missed by the students, staff and physicians here at Trinity. She was the “rock” of our libraries and left a void that will be impossible to fill.

    Those that knew Jeanne well also know that she LOVED to talk. I’m guessing that when Jeanne showed up at the Pearly Gates, St. Peter had to set aside at least 30 minutes just to greet her. I had spoken with Jeanne just last Friday as we were passing in the hallway, and that conversation turned into a lengthy interchange discussing our old boss, Will Weider, who runs this blog. Jeanne told me how much she missed working for Will and how he had brought the library into the digital age. We talked about Will and his family, and how much we missed them all. Jeanne thought the world of Will and said he was the best boss she ever had.

    Jeanne was a special person, and will be remembered with fondness forever by everyone whose life she touched along the way. God bless.

  2. Will,
    Thanks for taking the time to memorialize such a great person as Jeanne Gittings. I started working at Lutheran Hospital School for Nurses in 1969 at the same time that Jeanne started. When Jeanne’s name is mentioned in this community, the first response of allmost everyone is: “Jeanne helped me get my degree”. And that was true. She was always willing to support someone who was seeking information. I was always so iimpressed that she made the library a welcoming place, not a sterile, quiet atmosphere as sometimes it had been. She was always on the forefront of information access and was a good leader to all of us. Your comment does remind all of us to appreciate those people who work so hard behind the scenes to support each of us as we seek the knowledge we need to be effective.

    I will speak for Jeanne and tell everyone reading this how much she thought of you, Will. She spoke of you often and with great admiration.


  3. Jeanne was a very long term friend. I started working with her in 1971. She was one of most intelligent people I have ever known and was an endless resource of knowlege for all who knew her. She never was too busy to help you find whatever you were looking for. She was a beautiful Christian and had such a caring heart. Professionally she was a celebrity locally, state wide and nationally. She was active in her professional organizion, held office and was an invaluable resource to them as well. I have been teaching nursing students for 37 plus years and can’t count the number of ex-students that have come up to me to say that they owed their degree to Jeanne and all the hours of help she provided them. Love for doing counted cross stitch is another thing Jeanne and I shared although she did much more beautiful work than I. My mother worked with her in the nursing school library for several years and Jeanne stitched her a beautiful piece, “praying hands”, as a gift. I still have that piece and of course will always treasure it.
    Others will come in to continue some of the work Jeanne did but no one will ever replace her… her knowledge, her professionalism, and most of all her friendship. I am going to miss her very much and am better person for having had the privilege of her friendship over the years.

  4. Hi Will! As I mentioned to you earlier, your blog on Jeanne was very nice. Her passing has come as a total shock to all and she will be greatly missed. As you know Jeanne was my boss when I worked in the Nursing Library. During my time there, I learned so much from Jeanne. Her wealth of knowledge was incredible. I know I learned alot from her and as I decided to go back to school to attain my bachelors degree, Jeanne was right there ready to help me with anything that I needed. I will miss her dearly and she will always have a special place in my heart.
    Will, I know Jeanne cherished you as a friend and (former) boss. There was no one else like you overseeing the library and the visions of moving the library forward and helping Jeanne accomplish this. With your help, Jeanne was able to create a library that has come into the new age of technology and her legacy will live on in the library and in every single one of us who was blessesd to have known her.

  5. Just a few words to share about Jeanne’s memorial service. It was shared in the bulletin that at the beginning of the summer the pastor asked the congregation to select some of their favorite hymns and they were be chosen during the summer. Most identified 2 or 3. We sang 3 of the 36 that Jeanne submitted.

    Also her sister shared that Jeanne graduated from Augustana and looked for a teaching job in 1969. But no teaching job came forth so unbeknown to Jeanne, her mother put an article in the paper saying Job wanted and Jeanne’s qualifications – Augustana graduate, Latin major, qualified to teach etc. Lutheran Hospital School for Nurses answered that ad and she has worked there for just sort of 40 years.

    It was a very lovely service and there were many from her church and the hospital was well represented in attendance. Janine Tufty, who used to teach with us at the college, came down from Fulton and Leanne, Harriet Olson and a couple of long time professors in the present college came. She will be missed by us all.

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