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Obituary for Mildred (Millie) Fincke

Posted 11 months ago by Cheryl Ann MacDonald-Sweet

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MILDRED (MILLIE) FINCKE

Age 90, of South Fayette Township, passed away on Sunday, August 27, 2017 following a short illness. She was born on September 15, 1926, in Etna, Pennsylvania to parents Helen Schor and Samuel Fry. She married Theodore James Fincke on September 26, 1947, who preceded her in death in 1991. She was also preceded in death by her two sisters, Shirley Bush of Minerva, Ohio, and Helen Ruth Biteler of Scott Township. She is survived by her children, Jamie Lee (Patricia) Fincke of Uniontown, PA and Jason Allyn Fincke (Bernadette) of Upper St. Clair, PA. She was grandmother to Melissa (Sean) Hartley of Aurora, IL, Jessica (Casey) Boyd of Bradford Woods, Adam (fiancée, Stephanie) Fincke of Shaler Township and Jared (Kaitlyn) Fincke of Baltimore, MD. She was also great-grandmother to Evie Boyd of Bradford Woods; and aunt to numerous nieces and nephews. Millie was a leader in professionalizing and advancing emergency room nursing, where she helped set the standard of care for nurse practitioners in this region's early days of Emergency Medical Services (EMS). In the 1970s, she established an Emergency Nurse Practitioner Program at Allegheny General Hospital that would become a model for programs nationwide. Among her work, she helped establish similar programs in hospitals in Houston, Texas, Birmingham, Alabama, Omaha, Nebraska, Portland, Oregon and Phoenix, Arizona. Prominent on the national scene, Millie was a board member for the Emergency Department Nurses Association established in 1970, where she also served as president in 1975. It was there at the University of Texas Medical Center at Herman Hospital where she first saw up close and personal a successful helicopter transport system. Understanding its importance to patient care, she worked with administrators at Allegheny General Hospital to gain their full support of a similar program in Pittsburgh. Her untiring efforts led in 1978 to the start of Pittsburgh's inaugural hospital-based helicopter service (LifeFlight). First of its kind in the region and eastern United States, LifeFlight's debut foreshadowed an era of extensive growth nationwide in air medical services. Millie was a graduate of Allegheny General Hospital's School of Nursing in 1947. The day she graduated the hospital appointed her head nurse in the Emergency Room. She later worked as supervisor in the Emergency Department and instructor in Emergency Procedures and CPR Program at North Hills Passavant Hospital. In 1966, she would return to Allegheny General where she would later become associate vice president of Emergency/ Ambulatory Services in 1980. After a four year stint at the Medical Center of Beaver County, she once again returned to Allegheny General Hospital in 1986 where she was named vice president of Nursing, the first Allegheny General nursing graduate to hold such a position. Throughout her career, she conducted emergency room training seminars throughout the world, authored numerous articles in medical journals, and was a contributing author on several books on emergency nursing care and practices. Among the many awards she received throughout her career included Allegheny General Hospital's Distinguished Service Award and Sigma Beta Tau Leadership Award for Nursing Excellence in 1992; and the Emergency Department Nurses Association's National Leadership Award and the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council Award for Contributions to the Field of Nursing in 1979. In 1983, the Pennsylvania Health Services Council created the Millie K. Fincke Award, which is given annually to a professional nurse or group of nurses who contributed to Emergency Health Services. She served on the Pennsylvania State Board of Nurse Examiners from 1983 until 1990. She was also a member of the National League of Nursing, American and Pennsylvania Nurses Association, Hospital Association of Pennsylvania, Emergency Nurses Association, American Organization of Nurse Executives, American Trauma Society and many others. In addition to graduating from Allegheny General Hospital's School of Nursing, Millie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Visitation Tuesday 2-8 p.m. at NEELY FUNERAL HOME, 208 Mt. Royal Boulevard, Glenshaw. Funeral service Wednesday 10 a.m. at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Etna. Please visit us at www.neelyfuneralhome.com

Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Aug. 28 to Aug. 29, 2017