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Published: Thursday, 5/16/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Janet Blaufuss, 1941-2013

Nurse helped start local Hospice in ’78

BY KELLY McLENDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
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Janet Blaufuss, who had a long career in nursing and was known as a founding member of Hospice of Northwest Ohio, died May 6 in Toledo.

She was 72.

Ms. Blaufuss, who moved back to Toledo in 2003 from North Carolina, suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, her son John Blaufuss said.

“She was living with lung disease for 15 years. It’s a progressive condition. That’s ultimately what brought her to a premature end,” he said.

He said his mother outlived her initial prognosis.

Ms. Blaufuss worked for Visiting Nurse Service in Toledo for more than 11 years, from 1977 until 1988, and served as executive director the last four years.

As a founding member of Hospice of Northwest Ohio and Ohio Hospice Organization, she helped start area hospice services in 1978.

Rick Kerger, who served as president of the board of Visiting Nurse Service during the time Ms. Blaufuss was executive director, remembers her presence with admiration.

“She was one of the most decent people I ever knew. We lost contact years ago, but I still remember, she was a truly fine person,” he said.

Mr. Kerger said Ms. Blaufuss was known for “her integrity, her commitment to taking care of people, her commitment to making sure the staff worked hard and were treated fairly,” among other qualities.

Mr. Blaufuss said his mother was a woman who truly cared about others.

“She cared a lot about people and it showed. She was able to establish rapport and connections with just about anybody and did so all of her life,” he said.

She was born July 6, 1941, in Crossville, Ill., to Mary Vonda and George Bernard Boultinghouse.

She attended Asbury College and graduated from the University of Illinois college of nursing.

Her first jobs out of college in the 1960s included working in pediatrics and juvenile psychiatry.

She was also instrumental in helping establish the first sheltered care homes in central Illinois.

“I think it was a love of people,” Mr. Blaufuss said, about his mother’s decision to spend her career in nursing.

She served as president of the Illinois Association of Local Health Department Nursing Administrators, and worked for an anti-poverty agency in Danville, Ill.

When she moved to Toledo to start with the Visiting Nurse Service, it was a home health agency, her son said, adding that when she started, she worked in the building housing the county health department.

He said working for the agency related to his mother’s passion for making sure people were well cared for.

“She believed strongly in it because it allowed people to remain at home with more dignity and comfort, than if they are in an institutional setting,” he said.

Ms. Blaufuss moved to North Carolina in 1989 to become director of nursing for the Iredell County Health Department, then returned to Toledo 14 years later to be closer to family.

Surviving are her son, John; daughter, Janna Beth McDaniel, and four granddaughters.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in Monroe Street United Methodist Church.

Neville Funeral Homes is handling arrangments.

The family suggests tributes to the United Way of Greater Toledo or Hospice of Northwest Ohio.

Contact Kelly McLendon at: kmclendon@theblade.com or 419-724-6522, or on Twitter@KMcBlade.



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