Anne-Russell Lillis Noffsinger Creech, a retired college nursing program director who mentored generations of nurses in Lexington , died June 7 of complications from pneumonia.
She was 86. Creech helped address a critical nursing shortage by leading a program that produced top graduates at the school now known as the Bluegrass Community and Technical College , said Ben Carr, a former community college chancellor and University of Kentucky Vice President for Administration.
"She had a real impact on the number of nurses in this area," Carr said. "Doc Anne," as she was often called was known as "a formidable woman with panache," her obituary said.
Missy Curtis Floyd, recalled that years ago, Creech was an inspiration to her and some other older students. They were getting bogged down from juggling families and nursing classes "but she just kept encouraging us."
Floyd said after she became a nurse, she asked Creech to speak at a graduation ceremony for a nurse's aide class Floyd taught at a long-term care facility.
"She gave such a good speech, ... you would have thought they were graduating from Harvard," said Floyd.
Creech's daughter, Ward Noel Pell of Lexington said her mother "had great vision, she was very proactive in promoting (nursing) programs" in the Kentucky General Assembly and in the community.
Creech was born in 1932, in Frankfort to a farming family during the Depression, her obituary said.
She earned a nursing diploma from Good Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing in 1952 and in all, earned six college degrees over 27 years from two universities in Kentucky and Tennessee. There was an academic scholarship in her name at Lexington Community College and she was chair of the Lexington Community College Development Council.
Creech was active in several philanthropic and community organizations in Lexington, including Friends of Music, Child Development Center Board, and the Rotary Club. She won a Nursing Class Teacher Award in 1977 from the Lexington Technical Institute, where she served as professor and program coordinator for associate degrees in nursing; a Great Teacher Award in 1983 from the University of Kentucky's National Alumni Association, and a Meritorious Award in 1985 from the Kentucky League for Nursing, according to her obituary.
While she was a professor and the nursing director at the Lexington Technical Institute, she co-authored a textbook, "Counseling: An Introduction for the Health and Human Services."
She was predeceased by her parents, Charles Russell and Hettie Ward Lillis; a sister, Lila Ward; a brother, John Lillis; and her husbands, James Philip Noffsinger and Glenwood Lewis Creech. In addition to her daughter Ward Noel Pell, Creech is survived by daughter, Gretchen Noffsinger Zeigler, also of Lexington and a son, Hans Noffsinger, of Louisville.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Milward's Funeral Home on Southland Drive. Visitation will begin at noon. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Lexington Humane Society, or to The Salvation Army.